Pfäfers is a municipality in the Wahlkreis (constituency) of Sarganserland in the canton of St. Gallen in Switzerland. The villages Pfäfers, St. Margrethenberg, Vadura, Valens, Vasön and Vättis belong to the municipality.
In the 14th century Walser settled in the Calfeisental. Until today the colony St. Martin and the Walserhouse on the alp Ebni can be visited.
Around the year 1240 the thermal spring in the Taminaschlucht was discovered. The sick people which bathed in the curative water were let down the narrow canyon on ropes. In the year 1630 a bath house was constructed at the mouth of the canyon. The road to Ragaz was built in 1840 and in the following years the cure business was more and more relocated to there. Today, the Bad Pfäfers, the oldest baroque bath building in Switzerland, shelters a restaurant and a museum.
Two important milestones of the 20th century in economical aspects were the opening of the clinic Valens in 1970 and of the power plants Sarganserland in 1975. The clinic Valens is specialised in rheumatology, neurology and orthopaedy. The power plants Sarganserland run a pumped storage hydro power plant. The storage lake Gigerwald and the compensation reservoir Mapragg with the control centre in Mapragg belong to the power plant. Both companies are important employers for the population of the community.
This anecdote is illustrated on the ceiling paintings of the church in Pfäfers.
The landmark of Pfäfers is the baroque minster at the entrance of the village. From Pfäfers the way goes up to the charming high valley of St. Margrethenberg. You can get an amazing sight from the viewpoint Piz Alun. St. Margrethenberg could also be the starting point for a hiking tour on the Calanda.
From Pfäfers you can also walk the otherway round down to the Taminaschlucht with its hot spring. The old bath house with the well-known museum and the Paracelsus memorial is worth a visit. Over the natural bridge you can reach the other side of the valley with the villages Valens and Vasön. The clinic in Valens has a public bath with water from the hot spring.
The southernmost village in the canton of St. Gallen is Vättis. From there you can explore the wild craggy Calfeisental or wander through mountain pastures of the Kunkelspass. With the cable way you reach the Vättnerberg with its wonderful panorama. Another possibility is to climb up to the Drachenloch which was inhabited in the Stone Age. The local museum Vättis gives a lot of information of the findings made by the researchers.
Cross-country skiing is possible in St. Margrethenberg as well as in Vättis. Both places maintain lovely runs. Well cleared pathes invite for a walk in the winter wonderland. For everybody who wants to warm up himself the cosy restaurants in each village feature a lovely service.
The most important employer with a total of 245 employees is the clinic St. Pirminsberg with its fields psychiatry, psychotherapy and addiction treatment. Mentally ill people from the south part of the canton of St. Gallen and from Liechtenstein were treated there. Further employments are provided from agriculture and forestry as well as the small trade.
The control centre and the equalising reservoir Mapragg of the power plants Bad Sarganserland are located in Vadura. The pumped storage hydro power plant produces 444 million kWh of electricity on average per year.
Places of interest
A place of interest is the Drachenloch museum. Finds from the prehistorical place of discovery are exposed there. In Gaspus is the lower station of the cable way to Vättnerberg situated. Numerous hiking tours to the superb world of the alps start in Vättnerberg.
Behind Vättis lies the Calfeisental which is as well a popular hiking area. Worth seeing it is the storage lake Gigerwald with 147 meter high dam and the former colony of walser St. Martin.
Places of interest
The clinic Valens, which is specialised in rheumatology, neurology and orthopaedics, is the most important employer. The treatments are supported by therapies with the curative water of the hot spring. The bath is also accessible for the public.