Trip Planner: Europe / Switzerland / Swiss Alps / Canton of Valais / Bourg Saint Pierre / L'Hospice du Gd-St-Bernard
The Great St Bernard Hospice, is a hospice or hostel for travellers in Switzerland, at 2469m altitude at the Great St Bernard Pass in the Pennine Alps. The border with Italy is only a few hundred metres to the south.Using our custom trip planner, Bourg Saint Pierre attractions like L'Hospice du Gd-St-Bernard can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
The first hospice or monastery was the 9th century one at Bourg-Saint-Pierre mentioned for the first time around 812-820. This was destroyed by Saracen incursions in the mid-10th century, probably in 940, the date at which they also occupied Saint-Maurice. Around 1050, Saint Bernard of Menthon, archdeacon of Aosta, regularly saw travellers arriving terrorised and distressed, so he decided to put an end to mountain brigandage in the area. With this in mind, he founded the hospice at the pass which later bore his name (it was originally dedicated to St Nicholas). The church's first textual mention is in a document of 1125. The hospice was placed under the jurisdiction of the bishop of Sion, prefect and count of Valais, thus explaining why the whole pass is now in Swiss territory.
DogsThe St. Bernard dog breed was created at the hospice from cross-breeding dogs, probably those offered by families in Valais in the 1660s and 1670s. The first definite mention of the breed is in 1709. The breed was originally raised to provide guard dogs for the hospice, before they became mountain rescue dogs. The St. Bernards were specially bred and trained for the role of mountain rescue because they were sufficiently strong to cross deep snow drifts and had the capacity to track lost travelers by scent. The first evidence that the dogs were in use at the monastery is in two paintings dating to 1690 by Salvatore Rosa.
L'Hospice du Gd-St-Bernard reviews
A lovely, friendly place, simple rooms, hearty and nice food and exceptional welcome and opportunities for religious services, it was great to speak to the monks, the volunteers and some of the other.... more »
Just a small not about the associated museum. Pretty well done and surprisingly modern given the location (don't expect star wars though!), it is a nice opportunity to learn about the history of the..... more »
You will recieve a warm welcome by one of the friars when arriving. The room was very good and clean, and so were the showers and toilets. The ambiance here makes me want to come back! 10/10
Super ski touring adventure in April,, no vehicles on the road as the pass is still closed to vehicles, so pop on your skis and skins and up you go. Not too many tourists as only snow adventurers this time of year . Monks very hospitable as we're the other like minded guests. Only my second off piste adventure ,, the first was the Vallee Blanche,, Must be mad but great few days and challenging adventure for me!
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