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Reichenbach Falls, Switzerland

The world-famous Reichenbach falls has its origins in the Rosenlaui Glacier, which is located to the south of Meiringen in the canton of Bern. The Rosenlaui Glacier is relatively small but from it comes the Glacier Gorge Rosenlaui and the Reichenbach Falls. The melted waters from the glacier thunder through the revine and then flow onwards to the valley and become the Reichenbach brook. This seven-tiered waterfall is the famous Reichbach Falls.

The Reichenbach Falls (Reichenbachfälle) are a series of waterfalls on the River Aar near Meiringen in Bern canton in central Switzerland. They have a total drop of 250 m (820 ft). At 90 m (295.2 ft), the Upper Reichenbach Falls is one of the highest cataracts in the Alps. The falls are made accessible by the Reichenbachfall-Bahn funicular railway.The town and the falls are known worldwide as the setting for an entirely fictional event: it is the location where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s hero, Sherlock Holmes, apparently dies at the end of “The Adventure of the Final Problem” locked in mortal combat with his arch nemesis, Professor Moriarty. Out of many waterfalls in the Bernese Oberland, the Reichenbach Falls seems to have made the greatest impression on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the Sherlock Holmes stories. So impressed was Doyle that he decided to let his hero die there. A memorial plate at the funicular station commemorates Holmes, and there is a Sherlock Holmes museum in the nearby town of Meiringen. The actual ledge from which Moriarty and Holmes apparently fell is on the other side of the falls; it is accessible by climbing the path to the top of the falls, crossing the bridge and following the trail down the hill. The ledge is marked by a plaquewritten in English, German and French; the English inscription reads, “At this fearful place, Sherlock Holmes vanquished Professor Moriarty, on 4 May 1891.” This is a reference to an event in Conan Doyle’s “The Adventure of the Empty House”, in which Holmes is revealed to have survived the fight with Moriarty due to his knowledge of “baritsu, or Japanese wrestling” and to have taken the opportunity to fake his own death, to protect himself from Colonel Sebastian Moran, Moriarty’s henchman. The pathway of which the duel between Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty occurs ends some hundred yards away from the falls. When Doyle viewed the falls, the path ended very close to the falls, close enough to touch it, yet over the hundred years after his visit, the pathway has become unsafe and slowly eroded away, and due to the nature of waterfalls, the falls have receded further back into the gorge.

Reichenbach Funicular

The tracks for the funicular railway were laid in 1899. Today an exact replica of the original wagon will take you on the ride up to the base of this impressive 120m high waterfall where spectacular views of the waterfall and the Hasli valley can be enjoyed from the viewing platform.

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