Schilthorn Mountain - History and Facts | History Hit

Schilthorn Mountain


Tristan Parker

20 Sep 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Schilthorn Mountain

Schilthorn is a mountain in the Bernese Oberland, part of the canton of Bern, Switzerland. The mountain stands 2,970 metres-above-sea-level.

History of Schilthorn Mountain

As well as being one of the tallest mountains in the Bernese Alps, Schilthorn became famous for a different reason when it was used as a key location in the 1969 James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, starring George Lazenby and based on Ian Fleming’s 1963 novel of the same name.

The film’s arch-villain, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, bases his lair in the mountain, which is the setting for a significant portion of the film after Bond travels, undercover, to the lair to try and foil Blofeld’s plans. The name that Ian Fleming gave to Blofeld’s lair in his novel was Piz Gloria, which has been retained by the revolving restaurant that currently sits at the top of the mountain’s cable car station complex.

The mountain itself has long been popular with adventurous climbers keen to enjoy the fantastic views offered from its summit. To open up the views to others, it was decided in the late 19th century that a railway to the top of Schilthorn should be built.

Various projects for the mountain railway were designed and discussed over the coming years, but none came to fruition, largely due to Schilthorn’s terrain and shape making planning difficult. It wasn’t until the 1960s that cable car technology had progressed enough to be able to navigate the mountain, and in 1962 Schilthorn Cableway Ltd. was founded to undertake the task.

Construction of the railway began in 1963 and its first three sections opened: Stechelberg to Gimmelwald, Gimmelwald to Mürren, Mürren to Birg. In 1967, members of the public could finally make their way to Schilthorn’s summit via the completed cableway, before filming for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service began in 1968. The following year, the Piz Gloria revolving restaurant opened to the public, and it’s believed that the film team actually helped finance the completion of the restaurant.

Schilthorn Mountain today

As well as the Piz Gloria revolving restaurant (the first of its kind in the Alps), Schilthorn continues to pay tribute to Ian Fleming’s master-spy with Bond World, an interactive exhibition that explores key scenes from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, as well as testing visitors’ knowledge of general Bond trivia and showcasing anecdotes from cast and crew members.

Even aside from the James Bond connection, Schilthorn is an extremely popular attraction for tourists, both from Switzerland and further afield. Visitors can take a cable car to the mountain summit, admiring incredible views over the Alps during the journey.

Getting to Schilthorn Mountain

Many people visiting Schilthorn arrive via Interlaken, a town also in the Bernese Oberland that can be reached from many major Swiss cities, including Switzerland’s capital, Bern. From Interlaken, a bus takes passengers to Stechelberg, where it’s possible to pick up the Schilthorn cable car route.

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