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Valais

Valais is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland in the south-western part of the country, in the Pennine Alps around the valley of the Rhone.

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To the south of the canton of Valais lies Italy, to the southwest France. To the north the canton is bounded by the Swiss cantons of Vaud and Bern; the cantons of Uri and Ticino lie to its east.

The wide, glacial Rhone Valley dominates the area; there are many side valleys which branch off the main valley. At the head of the Mattertal Valley lies Zermatt, a pretty tourist village dominated by views of the Matterhorn (4,477 m), which is is one of the biggest touristic attractions in the Swiss mountains.

Apart from tourism, agriculture is still important, particularly cattle breeding in the mountains and dairy farming in the plains. The vine industry of the canton is the largest in Switzerland. There are also a large number of orchards in the area. The European Graduate School, focusing primarily on media and communications, is located in the canton of Valais.

The world's tallest gravity dam is located at Grande Dixence in the canton. Hydroelectric power plants from the canton produce about a quarter of the Swiss electricity.

Near Visp there is a large plant of aluminium manufacturing, other metal products and chemicals are produced around Visp and Sierre; there is also an oil refinery in the canton.



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