The Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland is the deepest underground tunnel below the Gotthard mountains. It stretches 35.4 miles long and a mile and a half deep.
The idea was first proposed nearly seventy years ago by Swiss engineer Carl Eduard Gruner. It took so long to come into fruition due to political differences and disagreements.
This engineering wonder took 17 years to complete, just under 50,000 non-stop hours, nine lives were lost and $12 billion dollars.
According to NPR, “The high-speed rail running through the tunnel will make the train trip between Zurich and Milan about 45 minutes shorter, cutting it to 2 1/2 hours.”
As for the opening ceremony, on May 31, 2016 was one of the most strangest ceremonies I have ever seen. Some elements of the performance was interesting to say the least. Men and women dressed in construction gear marching while stomping their boots in a zombie like stare.
It featured actors, dancers, musicians and performers. It was rather artsy and eclectic with the tone of an occult ritual. Characters dressed with goat heads and a flying topless woman. Men and women stripped down to their under-garments rolling around on the ground.
After watching the video of the opening ceremony, I did further research and found this interesting story written in Atlas Obscura about one of the many bridges built in the mountainous region were the tunnel was built.
“Well, it’s said that in the 13th century the villagers from nearby Andermatt found it to be an impossible task and enlisted the help of the devil. As it goes with getting a devil architect, he demanded the soul of the first to cross. The townspeople sent a scared goat over to outwit him. Enraged, the devil grabbed a massive stone and was about to destroy the bridge when an old woman with a cross stopped him and he dropped it. The stone is actually still around near Göschenen, although it had to be relocated for a rather huge sum of money in 1977 for a new highway.”
When you watch the video, the story above will make sense.