Simplon Pass

Simplon Pass
Alpine pass and tunnel, southern Switzerland.

It is situated between the Pennine and Lepontine Alps at 6,581 ft (2,006 m). An important Alpine route since the mid-13th century, the pass became a major link between central and southern Europe when Napoleon had a road built there (1800–07). A hospice, occupied by the Augustinians and dating from 1235, is near the summit. When the pass is closed to road traffic in the winter, cars are transported by train through a 12.5-mi (20-km) tunnel below the pass that connects Brig, Switz., with Iselle, Italy.

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▪ mountain pass, Switzerland
 mountain pass in southern Switzerland between the Pennine and Lepontine Alps at 6,581 ft (2,006 m) on the watershed between a north-flowing tributary of the Rhône and a south-flowing tributary of the Toce. It was not until the mid-13th century that the pass attained any importance as a route, and it was only when Napoleon (Napoleon I) built (1800–07) a carriage road through the Gorge of Gondo that the pass began to compete with the other Alpine passes as a major link between central and southern Europe. Near the summit of the pass is a hospice, first mentioned in 1235 as in the charge of the Order of St. John; it is now occupied by the Augustinians. A railway tunnel (Simplon Tunnel) 12.5 mi (20 km) long (opened 1906) cuts through 4,285 ft beneath the pass and connects Brig, Switz., with Iselle, Italy.

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