Hiking on the Muleteer's Trail

Since the Roman era, the international trade route between Germany and Italy led over the Grisons passes. This changed when in 1230 a bridge was built over the Reuss crossing Schöllenen gorge and the Gotthard pass became the shortest route between north and south.
For the next 600 years, the goods from Zurich were shipped to the „Sust", the harbor of Horgen. There, the valuable commodities were reloaded on mules, later on sumpter horses. The muleteer’s trail ran from Horgen’s Sust via the village Hirzel – on the Dorfgasse (village lane) and Kirchstrasse (church street) up the "Bergli" (little mountain) and the "Eggweg" (lane), past the Chlausplätzli (little square) and the mountain pond, over the Grindel pass down to the "Simismoos", then further across the Wydenbach (Wyden brook) and the "Hirzler Höhe" (Hirzel elevation), along the old Zugerstrasse (street to Zug) across the "Moosacker" (moss field), past the "Rübgarten" (turnips’ garden) until down to the passage over the Sihl river, over the Babenwaag-Bridge and Sihlbrugg Village, today’s traffic junction. From here, the trail led to Baar, Zug, and further to lmmensee-Küssnacht or Brunnen, then across the Lake Lucerne to Flüelen into central Switzerland and further over the Gotthard pass to Italy. In reverse direction, the muleteers from Zug transported goods from Italy and central Switzerland to Horgen, Zurich and neighboring areas right up north to the big markets of Flanders (Belgium) and Augsburg (Germany).

The origin of our village
Neolithic findings prove that our region was inhabited already 5000 years ago by Pile Dwellers.
In 952, the name of "Horga" was mentioned for the first time in a certificate by German King Otto I.. This name goes back to the root "Horow", meaning marshes and is related to Horben, Horgun, Horgin.
The inhabitants were hunters and fishermen, practicing agriculture on the side and reclaiming land. This is how agriculture started in our region.
The opening of the Gotthard pass and the founding of the city of Zug in the 13th century, Horgen came to the fore in the trading business. At the end of the 14th, beginning 15th century, not only transports were carried out and the necessary services performed but also active trading. The wool industry, the linen weaving mills and later also the silk industry flourished.

The muleteer (German: Säumer)
The skippers from Zürich (the local ones were only allowed to do local transports) brought the commodities to the Sust in Horgen. From here, the muleteer loaded them onto sumpters. In order to be a muleteer, one had to own a horse and be able to lift half a "Saum" (old German word for load). (1 "Saum" wine = 4 "Viertel" = 60 "Maass" = 1,5 buckets = 165 Liters). The muleteer worked on behalf of foreign merchants.

The haulier (German: Hodler)
The haulier acted as a middleman and transported on his own account. After the payment of customs duty, he was free in his choice of a transport ship. Muleteers and hauliers were therefore the first carriers in the history of our region. They lived along the street from Horgen to Zug. By far the most lived in Horgenberg and Hirzel. In most cases, they were farmers as well.

The goods in transit
The most important goods were salt that was transported from the north to the south and wine that was brought from the south to the north. In addition, silk, velvet, brocade, wool, linen, rice, grain, oat, cheese and oil were traded. Salt is of vital importance. It was used as a preservative for cheese, meat and fish. It also served as a means of payment (salz = lat. salarium, from which originates the word "salary").

Traffic on the muleteer's trail calms down
Thunderstorms and wars made restoration works necessary. After the passage of French and Austrian armies, the trail was once again completely ruined. This induces Zurich to employ two civil servants, to prohibit carts with more than draught animals and to levy special taxes on carts with 5 to 8 draught animals. When in 1824 the road above Stotzweid was destroyed by a landslide, a completely new construction of our muleteers train imposed itself more and more. In 1837 project emerged with the new Tobelmühle routing. At the same time the construction of a road over the Albis pass started. In 1840 the “Seestrasse“ (lakeside street) was built, and this, together with the abolishment of inter-cantonal customs duties, meant the end of the muleteer’s trail!

Hiking time from Sust to Sihlbrugg approx. 2.5 hours.
From Sihlbrugg to the train station Sihlbrugg: approx. 1 hour to walk. Then take the train S21 to Horgen-Oberdorf.
Note: there are plans, to annul the station of Sihlbrugg (trainstop of S21 between Thalwil and Zug) by the year of 2013
There is a bus connection between Sihlbrugg village and Baar.
A singnpost of the Muleteer's Trail

Zugehörige Objekte

Plan-Saumweg.pdf Download Plan-Saumweg.pdf