The modern name Chur derives from when the site was a Roman fortified camp, Curia Raetorum in Latin. Later in the Roman period, Chur became the capital of the Roman province of Rhaetia Prima in 15 BC. It was of moderate importance, being mentioned in the Antonine Itineraries and Paul the Deacon's Historia Langobardorum (History of the Lombards), vi. 21.
During the period of the Republic of the Three Leagues in Graubünden (ca. 1400-1797), Chur was the chief town of the Gotteshausbund or Chadé (League of the House of God), and one of the places the Leagues' assemblies met regularly.
The bishopric still existed in the early 20th century, with jurisdiction over the cantons of the Graubünden, Glarus, Zurich, and the three Forest Cantons (Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden, and Lucerne), as well as the sovereign Principality of Liechtenstein. The guild constitution of the city of Chur lasted from 1465 to 1839, while in 1874 the Burgergemeinde was replaced by an Einwohnergemeinde.
A Bishop of Chur is first mentioned in 451/ 452 when its Bishop St. Asimo attended the Synod of Milan (Mansi, IV, 141), but the bishopric probably existed a century earlier. The bishopric, originally in the ecclesiastical province of Milan, later transferred to Mainz in 843 CE. Its territory in the medieval and early modern periods included the Val Venosta with a secondary center in Merano (now in Italy), the Vorarlberg (now in Austria), and the valley of the Linth river as far as the southern end of the Lake of Zurich.
The Bishops were also important secular rulers in the region from the seventh until fifteenth century, and their lordship provided the framework for the emergence of the Gotteshausbund or Chadé (League of the House of God), one of the three leagues of communities that formed the Republic of the Three Leagues in Graubünden after about 1450 CE. In the two sets of Ilanz Articles (1524 and 1526), the Republic of the Three Leagues rejected political control by the bishops, although later bishops rejected the Articles and sought to reassert their political powers. In the early modern period, the bishops also remained princes of the Holy Roman Empire, although they rarely attended the Imperial Diet. During the Protestant Reformation, considerable parts of the see's German, Romansh, and Italian speaking population adopted the Swiss Reformed faith, although many also remained Catholic, especially in the Val Venosta.
The appointment in 1990 of Bishop Wolfgang Haas, seen by a considerable number of Catholics in the see as following conservative positions at the wish of Pope John Paul II, caused considerable dissent in the see for several years, until his appointment as first Archbishop of Liechtenstein in 1997.
Several holy and extraordinary men have contributed to the splendour of the Diocese of Chur. Four of its bishops are honoured as saints: St. Asimo (c. 450), St. Valentinian (530-48), St. Ursicinus (d. 760), and St. Adalbert (1151-60). Fidelis von Sigmaringen, a Capuchin priest sent to convert the local Protestant population during a period of Austrian military occupation in 1621, was martyred in the see, in the village of Seewis, in 1622.
According to the Kirchliches Handlexicon (Munich, 1906) the diocese had a Catholic population of about 248,887 (non-Catholics, 431,367).
Chur has 33,500 inhabitants; languages spoken include Swiss German, Italian and Romansh. In 1900 of its 11,532 inhabitants, 9288 were German-speaking, 1466 Romansch-speaking, and 677 Italian-speaking; while 7561 were Protestants, 3962 Roman Catholics.
It has a variable altitude in the city area from just 600 metres above sea level to 1,800 metres above sea level, while the Churer Hausberg Brambrüesch (accessible from the Old Town) is situated at 2,174 metres above sea level.
The water of Chur's spring is exported and sold as Passugger mineral water.
The modern part of the city is to the west, but the old portion, with all the historical buildings, is to the east. Here is the cathedral church of St Luzius (who is the patron of Coire, and is supposed to be a 2nd-century British king Lucius, though really the name has probably arisen from a confusion between Lucius of Cyrene, miswritten curiensis, with the Roman general Lucius Munatius Plancus, who conquered Raetia).
Built between 1178 and 1282, on the site of an older church, it contains many curious medieval antiquities (especially in the sacristy), as well as a picture by Angelica Kaufmann, and the tomb of the great Grisons political leader (d. 1637) Jenatsch. Opposite is the Bishops Palace, and not far off, is the Episcopal Seminary (built on the ruins of a 6th-century monastic foundation). Not far from these ancient monuments is the new Raetian Museum, which contains a great collection of objects relating to Raetia (including the geological collections of the Benedictine monk of Disentis Abbey, Placidus a Spescha (1752-1833), who explored the high snowy regions around the sources of the Rhine). One of the hospitals was founded by the famous Capuchin philanthropist, Father Theodosius Florentini (1808-1865), who was long the Romanist cur of Coire, and whose remains were in 1906 transferred from the cathedral here to Ingenbohl (near Schwyz), his chief foundation. The Romano-Gothic cathedral where lie the remains of Jörg Jenatsch was begun by Bishop Tello (758-73), has a highly interesting crypt; it contains remarkable paintings by Dürer and Holbein.
The railway station has the SBB-CFF-FFS lines link with the RhB (Rhaetian railways) lines. While the SBB lines serve most of Switzerland, most of Graubünden's rail traffic is served by Rhaetian state railways.
There is also a bus station on top of the railway station.
Chur is linked by a motorway—the A13.
AS STATE CITES POOR CARE, OEN OWNER GROWS RICH ; RUNNING NURSING HOMES CAN BE ENORMOUSLY PROFITABLE . JUST ASK NEIL M. CHUR SR., WHOSE FACILITIES HAVE MADE HIM A FORTUNE-BUT HAVE HAD REPEATED INCIDENTS OF SUBSTANDARD CARE. Series: SPECIAL REPORT- NURSING HOMES
Dec 10, 2001; Neil M. Chur Sr. runs some of the worst nursing homes in the region -- perhaps in the state. In one of Chur's...