Sphinx, amazing observatory at the top of the Alps

12 julio 2007

At an amazing 3.571 metres, the Sphinx observatory at Swiss Alps is the highest-altitude construction in Europe. The Sphinx building and observation terrace stand 117 metres above the Jungfraujoch-Top of Europe .

On 13 December 2001 UNESCO declared the Jungfrau-Aletsch-Bietschhorn area the first World Heritage site in the Alpine region. The Sphinx Observatory is located on top of a small, seperate mountain on Jungfraujoch. The main-part of the Sphinx is used by scientists but tourists may get outside of the building, at a terrace that faces all sides of the building and provide stunning 360° views.

The Jungfraujoch is not only a spectacular vantage point but also an excellent location for a wide range of scientific research projects, with the pure air and easy railway access providing ideal perquisites. Astronomers, geologists, physicists, meteorologists and hydrologists make valuable contributions to environmental investigation.

The scientific part of the Sphinx observatory includes two large laboratories, a weather observation station, a workshop, two terraces for scientific experiments, an astronomical as well as a meteorological cupola. The astronomical cupola is equipped with a 76cm telescope with Cassegrain and Coudé focus.

But if you want to know the real and spectacular location of this Observatory, please click on the following images (in the second one you can see its location at Google Maps):

About 100 metres down the montain, train station at the top of Jungfrau is also the Highest rail station in Europe (3,454 m). The tunnel curves through the Eiger and traverses the Mönch before stopping at the Jungfraujoch rail station. On the way, the engineers built two stops where they placed bay windows right into the mountainside. This railway was built about one hundred years ago (!).

The inner world of this icy beauty can be seen at the Ice Palace, a large cave hewn 200 meters into the glacier. It is adorned with ice sculptures depicting animals and figures from all over the world.

More info and sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 .