City holds its historic glory as WEF crowd throng Davos lanes

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As the rich and powerful from across the world descend here for their annual jamboree, ski areas are also not devoid of winter-sport fans and tourists can be seen devouring the rich history of this small Swiss resort town on snow-capped Alps.

Once famous for being a summer health resort, Davos gradually emerged as a major winter sport hub on Alps, but its biggest claim to fame for the past four decades has been World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting every January.

The Geneva-based WEF would host its 44th Annual Meeting here beginning tomorrow, wherein more than 2,500 leaders from across the world including 40 heads of government are expected to indulge in a high-profile talk fest for five days.

While such a high-profile event leads to all hotels and rental apartments being occupied, the die-hard winter sport fans still throng this place as WEF also means relatively smaller crowds in ski areas and on mountain cableways.

The only drawback for tourists is that they cannot stay within the town, which has less than 10 medium-sized hotels and about 40 small ones including in near-by areas like Klosters and Dorf.

Besides, the so-called WAGs (wives and girlfriends of those attending WEF meet) can also been seen in large numbers on ski circuits and at various tourist destinations of the town that comprises of two big parallel roads and numerous connecting alleys.

Davos' history as a modern and popular holiday destination dates back to 150 years ago in 1865 when first winter guests arrived here. Till then, it was just a summer mountain health resort with a strong reputation for treatment of tuberculosis patients.

One day in February 1865, Doctor Friedrich Unger and Hugo Richter from Germany arrived here and began a course of treatment on a bed made from a hay sled covered with boards.

The treatment rapidly proved successful and both men felt able to return to work. Soon after, Doctor Friedrich Unger returned to Davos and worked as a doctor here for over 20 years. Hugo Richter married a Davos girl and took over the management of a guest house here.

Later, he also moved his publishing business to this small town and began printing two local newspapers.

Another feather in its cap is Davos being home to Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, who spent his last 20 years in this town, which is full of many of his finest paintings.

Besides a museum devoted to Kirchner's work, his paintings can be seen anywhere and everywhere in Davos.

Towards the end of his life, Kirchner suffered a major nervous breakdown and spent his last days in a sanatorium in Davos. This is the same sanatorium that inspired Noble laureate Thomas Mann's classic novel The Magic Mountain.

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