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Brig, Switzerland

Brig, Switzerland
Brig, officially Brig-Glis is a municipality in the district of Brig in the canton of Valais in Switzerland. The municipality had 468 inhabitants in 1798 and 5191 in 1970. The number of inhabitants increased to 11,600 when, in 1973, it merged with the former municipalities of Glis and Brigerbad. The name Brig is derived from Briva, or "bridge. " It is a picturesque small town in Upper Valais, situated at the foot of the northern slope of the Simplon Pass, on the right bank of the Saltine stream, and a little above its junction with the Rhone. Its older houses are very Italian in appearance, while its most prominent buildings (Stockalper Palace, former Jesuits' college and Ursuline convent) all date from the 17th century, and are due to the generosity of a single member of the local Stockalper family, the baron Kaspar Jodok von Stockalper. Three standard gauge railway lines, namely the Simplon railway, the Milan–Domodossola railway, and the Bern-Lötschberg-Simplon railway, operated by either SBB-CFF-FFS or BLS AG, all meet at Brig railway station. So too do two metre gauge lines, both of them operated by Matterhorn-Gotthard-Bahn, and the metre gauge trains calling at Brig include the Glacier Express. Brig is located close to the Swiss-Italian borders. The language used in every day transactions is a unique German dialect, only used in this particular canton. Brig is popular among winter sport athletes, since it is surrounded by many Alp summits. The town itself lies close to Rhone river. Due to the high altitude, the temperatures in winter often remain below zero, resulting in frost. During the summer season, heat can be intense. The prosperity of Brig is bound up with the Simplon Pass, so that it gradually supplanted the more ancient village of Naters opposite, becoming a separate parish (the church is at Glis, a few minutes from the town) in 1517. Its medieval name was Briga dives. The opening of the carriage road across the Simplon (1807) and of the tunnel beneath the pass (1906), as well as the fact that above Brig is the steeper and less fertile portion of the Upper Valais (then much frequented by tourists), greatly increased the importance and size of the town.

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