Interesting facts 

This is why the centuries-old Suonen have preserved their importance up today

Suonen are constructed of wood and stones only and are therefore true masterpieces of human skills. The hollow tree trunk, called “Chänil”, is fastened to the perpendicular rock walls over crooked trunks, the “Chrapfa”, and beams, the “Toggen”, without binder or iron bands. The beams are rammed with a notch cut in their front part into previously drilled rock holes. There a wooden wedge facilitates the expansion of the beams when rammed, holding them so firmly in the rock.

 

In this way a new “Chänil” was built on the “Heji” in the 1980's at the beginning of the “Niwärch”. Today, 30 years later, it still carries water and permits hikers to cross safely a quite tricky spot. The “Tretschbord” construction, the lower ledge of a Suon is a piece of craft art: vertical stone plates are joined with the help of grassy strips, the “Wäschini” and build in this way a compact and passable wall.

Many decades ago bright minds with a vision for the future understood the cultural and practical value of the Suonen. Instead of turning the old water canals into modern pipes and concrete ditches, they preserved the ancient constructions and in places where they had been straightened returned them to their previous condition. Their successors continued the work. 

Richard Zurwerra from the Office for melioration of the Canton Valais: “Over the decades, the Canton of Valais invested over 50 Million Swiss Francs in the Suonen conservation. This corresponds to an average of 1,7 Million Francs per year in the last ten years; 630'000 Francs being paid by the Federal Government. The Swiss Landscape Fund has spent since its creation nearly 2,5 Million Francs for the conservation of 40 of the 200 still operational Suonen. Also the ‘Lotterie Romande’ generously supports the Suonen Project.”