From The UNESCO site
The extension of the natural World Heritage property of Jungfrau – Aletsch – Bietschhorn (first inscribed in 2001), expands the site to the east and west, bringing its surface area up to 82,400 ha., up from 53,900. The site provides an outstanding example of the formation of the High Alps, including the most glaciated part of the mountain range and the largest glacier in Eurasia. It features a wide diversity of ecosystems, including successional stages due particularly to the retreat of glaciers resulting from climate change. The site is of outstanding universal value both for its beauty and for the wealth of information it contains about the formation of mountains and glaciers, as well as ongoing climate change. It is also invaluable in terms of the ecological and biological processes it illustrates, notably through plan succession. Its impressive landscape has played an important role in European art, literature, mountaineering and alpine tourism.
The impressive north wall of the High Alps, centred on the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau peaks, is a superlative scenic feature, complemented on the southern side of the Alpine divide by spectacular peaks and a valley system which supports the two longest glaciers in western Eurasia
The picture above shows the view on the Aletsch Glacier, which is the largest glacier in the Alps. It has a length of about 23 km (14 mi) and covers more than 120 square kilometres (46 sq mi) in the eastern Bernese Alps in the Swiss canton of Valais.
This collage shows on the left the Eigerwand at 2864 meters above sea level, which offers a breathtaking view from the famous Eiger North Face. The Eigerwand has become famous for the tragic stories of the failed climbers, their efforts ending up fatally. I took this photo at the Jungfrau railway “Eigerwand” stop. The Jungfrau Railway is a cogwheel train that leads from Kleine Scheidegg through the Eiger and Mönch (right, below) to the Jungfraujoch (right, above). The train is a technical masterpiece and overcomes almost 1,400 altitude meters on the 8-kilometer stretch.
The Swiss Alps Jungrau-Aletsch is also famous for its record of productive scientific research on geology, geomorphology, climatic change, biology and atmospheric physics, the region is unsurpassed in the Alps and, in certain fields, at the global level. Observations on some of the glaciers go back to the 12th century and have allowed reconstructions of historical fluctuations.
We visited the site in June 2012 and all the expectations were fulfilled. From Interlaken the train takes you – via Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald, whichever you choose – to Kleine Scheidegg. Here you change to the Jungfrau Bahn. The ride from Kleine Scheidegg to the top- the Jungfraujoch- take about 50 minutes. From Interlaken to the top, it takes about 2 hrs 20 minutes. It is advisable to start the trip before 10:00 a.m. from Interlaken and also to take different routes on the way uphill and downhill. We took the route via Lauterbrunnen (famous for its waterfall and ski-sports) and downhill we stopped in Grindelwald – a famous winter and summer tourist resort. Even in summer, it is cold and windy at the top and it has snow all over. Even if we saw some tourists in sandals (and Saris!), it is advisable to have proper footwear and warm garments along with you! For fun: next time you take a ride in a train in a tourist spot worldwide, count the languages in which the announcements are made: I bet nowhere else, the announcements are made in more languages than in the Jungfrau Bahn: German, English, Italian, French, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and some other South East Asian country, I think, it was Korean!
Above is a panorama picture taken from the Jungfrau platform with a view on the Aletsch glacier
What to do at the Top of Europe?
- Hike to the Mönchsjochhütte, at 3657m above sea level. In the collage above, you can see me hiking up the path (picture on the right below)
- Visit the “Alpine Sensation” – a 250-metre-long experience round tour, including an ice sculpture park
- Visit the Sphinx– Europe’s highest weather station and lab. It has a terrace from where you have a beautiful view on the Aletsch Glacier
- Have fun at the Snow and Ice rides (sort of funpark for adults and children)
- And take lots of pictures!