… and way before people streamed to St Moritz to hear fantastic jazz, kite-surf , sail or snowboard, people were coming to take the waters. And not any old waters at that. These mineral waters have been known for their therapeutic properties since the middle ages when pilgrims used to tramp up to ‘take the waters’.
By the 16th century a scientific treatise relating to the St. Moritz mineral springs was written, and in 1535, Paracelsus, the great practitioner of nature cures, spent some time in St. Moritz.
It is his name which is on the beautiful memorial building and exhibition hall which has recently been refurbished on the original site of the first little ‘cure house’.
A far cry from the droughty original edifice which was built to welcome those who made the journey up. It must have been quite gruelling. A case of kill or cure quite frankly. The building was neither waterproof nor insulated and those coming for the cures would spend weeks up there drinking their way through increasingly large volumes of the water. They had to start off slow and work their way up to 10 litres a day, keep that going for another week and then slowly decrease the quantity. Quite a task. No wonder Pope Leo X promised full absolution to those making the pilgrimage. You needed some strong incentives to stick it out.
The waters were not just drunk of course – huge larch tree trunks were hollowed out and used as some of the very first hot spring tubs as seen below…
It might look like a rather gloomy affair to our eyes – especially when you compare it with the brand spanking new, gleaming white Ovaverva next door, but the waters are still the same and freely available to anyone who wants to down a glass or two. It certainly has a very mineral taste, not sure I could manage 10 litres a day but when you study the list of minerals it contains, you make an effort and have another cupfull all the same!.