History of Samnaun

The Samnaun Valley consists of 5 small villages: Compatsch, Laret, Samnaun-Plan, Samnaun-Ravaisch and Samnaun-Dorf. The comfortable and hospitable village is characterised by typical Engadin architecture, and the high amount of pinewood, which guarantees a comfortable room climate.

Samnaun was settled between 800 and 1000 ABC starting from Unterengadin. For this reason, the main language up to 1800 was almost exclusively Roman. With the passing of time, the Roman language was replaced by Tyrolean dialect due to the close economic cooperation with Tyrol and settlements of Tyrolean priests and teachers. The Tyrolean dialect resulted in the very individual Samnaun dialect, which is still spoken today. The names of villages, fields and mountains in Samnaun have been preserved, like for example Laret (larch forest), Piz Ot (High Mountain) or Pra Grond (Large Meadow).

Between 1873 and 1892 the phenomenon of the Samnaun dwarves was noticed due to a genetic defect. The result was a high number of dwarf children being born. In 4 families, there were a total of 8 children in 19 years, all of them between 80 cm and 100 cm in size.

The non-presence of a direct access road from Switzerland to Samnaun Valley, resulted in Samnaun being the Swiss customs end area in 1892. It was planned, that this status should be valid until a direct connection to Switzerland was realised. After the realisation of this connection in 1912, the duty-free status of Samnaun was extended and still today, Samnaun is the highest duty-free shopping area in Europe.

Already known for the beautiful landscape and the many ski tour routes, the first ski lift in Samnaun was realised in 1954. In 1977/1978, with the construction of the first aerial ropeway and the realisation of the ski resort, the beginning of the success story of the Silvretta Arena Samnaun/Ischgl was marked. In 1995, after a construction period of only 5 months, the first double-decker cableway in the world was realised. With only three pillars, it joined the valley station in Samnaun Ravaisch (1778 m) with the mountain station of Alp Trida Saddle (2500 m).