Great Saint Bernard Pass

ancient Mons Jovis

Pass in the Alps.

One of the highest of the Alpine frontier passes, at 8,100 ft (2,469 m), it lies on the Italian-Swiss border east of the Mont Blanc group and connects Valais, Switz., with Aosta, Italy. Historically the most important trans-Alpine route, it was often used by pilgrims to Rome and later by medieval armies. In 1800 it was crossed by Napoleon and his 40,000 troops on their way to northern Italy. A famous hospice on the pass, founded by St. Bernard of Menthon in the 11th century, is still kept by Augustinian monks who, with their St. Bernard dogs, provide services to travelers. The old road, open only five months a year, has been partly superseded by a tunnel beneath the pass, which allows year-round travel.

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▪ mountain pass, Europe
Italian  Colle del Gran San Bernardo,  French  Col du Grand-Saint-Bernard 
 one of the highest of the Alpine frontier passes, at 8,100 feet (2,469 metres). It lies on the Italian-Swiss border east of the Mont Blanc (Blanc, Mont) group in the southwestern Pennine Alps. The pass connects Martigny-Ville, Switzerland (24 miles [39 km] north-northwest), in the Rhône River valley, with Aosta, Italy (21 miles [34 km] southeast).

      A road through the pass was not mentioned until AD 69, when the military arrangement of the Roman province of Germania rendered its construction desirable. Remains of this road, about 12 feet (3.7 metres) in width, are still visible, cut into the rock near the lake that lies at the summit of the pass. The temple of Jupiter Poeninus once stood on the summit. Even though the pass was open for only five months a year and was accessible only by foot, it was historically the most important trans-Alpine route and was used by Napoleon and his 40,000 troops in 1800.

      A famous hospice on the pass, founded by St. Bernard in the 11th century, still provides a resting place and rescue services to travelers, though helicopter rescue and a new road have diminished the hospice's role. The old road (1823) has been partly superseded by a tunnel 3.5 miles (5.6 km) long (completed 1964) beneath the pass, which allows year-round travel and shortens the travel time between Martigny and Aosta by an hour.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Great St Bernard Pass — This article is about the mountain pass. For other uses, see Saint Bernard (disambiguation). Great St Bernard Pass Col du Grand Saint Bernard View of the south side from the monastery …   Wikipedia

  • Great Saint Bernard — geographical name mountain pass 8090 feet (2468 meters) through Pennine Alps between Switzerland & Italy …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Saint Bernard — [bər närd′] n. any of a breed of very large, reddish brown and white dog once kept by the monks of the hospice of the Great St. Bernard Pass in the Swiss Alps, and trained to rescue travelers lost in the snow: now kept as a companion dog * * *… …   Universalium

  • Saint Bernard — [bər närd′] n. any of a breed of very large, reddish brown and white dog once kept by the monks of the hospice of the Great St. Bernard Pass in the Swiss Alps, and trained to rescue travelers lost in the snow: now kept as a companion dog …   English World dictionary

  • Great St Bernard Tunnel — The Great St Bernard Tunnel is a road tunnel complementing the Great St Bernard Pass, linking Martigny in the Swiss canton of Valais/Wallis with the Val d Aosta in north western Italy. There is a toll to use the tunnel, payable in full even for… …   Wikipedia

  • Saint Bernard — /sənt ˈbɜnəd/ (say suhnt bernuhd) noun one of a breed of large dogs with a massive head, noted for their intelligence. {named after the hospice of St Bernard, on the pass of the Great St Bernard in the Alps, between Switzerland and Italy, where… …   Australian English dictionary

  • Little St Bernard Pass — Little St. Bernard Pass View of the stone circle crossed diagonally by the road. Remains of World War II fortifications are also visible. Elevat …   Wikipedia

  • GreatSaint Bernard Pass — Great Saint Bernard Pass An Alpine pass, 2,473.6 m (8,110 ft) high, on the Italian Swiss border. Known to the ancient Romans, it is named for Saint Bernard of Menthon, who founded a hospice at its summit in the 11th century. * * * …   Universalium

  • Château de Menthon-Saint-Bernard — Menthon Saint Bernard …   Wikipedia

  • saint — saintless, adj. /saynt/, n. 1. any of certain persons of exceptional holiness of life, formally recognized as such by the Christian Church, esp. by canonization. 2. a person of great holiness, virtue, or benevolence. 3. a founder, sponsor, or… …   Universalium


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