Gotthard, the world’s longest railway tunnel came to Bulgaria
The highlight of this year’s evening dedicated to Switzerland was the presentation of the world’s longest rail tunnel – Gotthard Base Tunnel, shortly after the official inauguration of the tunnel in Switzerland.
From 12 to 16 September 2016, the lobby of the of Hilton Hotel in Sofia accommodated the “Gotthard in photos and facts” exhibition.
Gotthard, the world’s longest and deepest rail tunnel is a triumph of the Swiss engineering after 17 years of construction work: 57 km long, up to 2.3 km below the mountain surface above and through rock, 2,400 workers from 15 countries working around the clock, 28.2 million tonnes excavated material, capacity up to 260 freight trains and 65 passenger trains per day. As a high-speed rail link under the Swiss Alps between northern and southern Europe it will revolutionise the European freight transport, when full services will start in December.
“With the SwiSSSoirée we would like to present Switzerland of today, an intertwined knot of high technologies and century-old traditions”, said Ambassador of Switzerland to Bulgaria Denis Knobel, the initiator of the event. As last year, the second edition of the SwiSSSoirée is co-organized by the Swiss Embassy and the Bulgarian-Swiss Chamber of Commerce with the support of private partners in Bulgaria. “With this event, which is becoming a good tradition, we hope to bring Switzerland more closely to Bulgaria showing country’s colours and diversity”.
Train “tickets” for a Gotthard journey were the tickets for the traditional tombola at the SwiSSSoirée. The modernity of Switzerland was complemented byperformances of traditional folklore on “Schwyzerörgeli”, the typical Swiss accordion. The name derived from the canton of Schwyz where it was developed in the late 19th century. Not well known outside of Switzerland, the Schwyzerörgeli has a unique tuning called “Schwyzerton”.
SwiSSSoirée served to the around 250 guests freshly cooked Raclette cheese, the culinary symbol and pride of Switzerland. Next to many other typical Swiss food specialties and wines, the evening promoted variety of Bulgarian farmer’s cow, sheep, buffalo, goat and blue cheeses from protected nature areas in the Western and Central Balkan Mountain, which production has been supported by the project “For the Balkan and the people” within the Bulgarian-Swiss Cooperation Programme.