Grosses Walsertal Valley, Vorarlberg, north-eastern side valley of the Illtal valley, from the Schadona Pass (leading to the Bregenzer Wald and Hochtannberg mountains) to just before Bludenz, where the Grosses Walsertal Valley meets the Walgau Valley between the villages of Thueringen and Ludesch. The Grosses Walsertal Valley, a narrow, gorge-like valley without a distinct valley floor, is one of the most naturally intact regions in Vorarlberg. It is drained by the River Lutz. The valley is named after people who immigrated from the Swiss Vallais or Wallis region in the 13th and 14th centuries and is the largest contiguous settlement area of the Wal(li)ser people. Previous to their arrival, the outer part of the valley had already been explored by Rhaeto-Romanic hunters and farmers. The northern side (sunny side) is dominated by the Zitterklapfengruppe mountains (2,403 m) and the Hochkuenzelspitze peak (2,397 m, late Flysch Zone). Settlements in the Grosses Walsertal Valley are almost exclusively limited to the northern side. The steeper southern side (shady side) includes several massifs of the Lechtal Alps; like the end of the valley, it is made up of eastern alpine limestone layers, and is densely wooded. The intense clearing of the woods on the northern side brought about a considerable risk of landslides and avalanches, and by the beginning of the 19th century the church of the main town of Sonntag (alt. 888 m) had in fact been buried by an avalanche. The Grosses Walsertal Valley (mainly Blons) was also hit by an avalanche disaster in 1954. On the northern side there are the villages of St. Gerold (alt. 848 m), Blons (alt. 903 m) and Fontanella (alt. 1,145 m), on the southern side Raggal (alt. 1,015 m) with Marul (976 m). Tourism (low-impact tourism without large hotels) has already substituted agriculture (cattle breeding and dairy farming, particularly mountain cheese) as the main source of income. A major road connection (in west-east direction) exists only between Unterfeld-Thueringen and Sonntag-Fontanella.
Literature#H. Held, Vorarlberg und Liechtenstein, 1988.