The Swiss have put on one of the most bizarre opening ceremonies in history to mark the completion of the world’s longest tunnel.
Famed for their trains, organisers roped in more than 600 dancers, acrobats and dramatic actors and even composed the new route’s very own theme tune as they pulled out all the stops for Wednesday’s inauguration at the tunnel’s northern portal in Erstfeld.
Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, President Francois Hollande of France and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi all came to southern Switzerland for an upbeat, glitzy celebration featuring musical bands and dancers.
Under purple neon lights, performers dressed in orange miners’ suits and protective helmets danced atop a moving rail car to the rhythm of pick-axes and construction machinery.
Trapeze artists hung from chains or ropes, a band blared out a thumping military march and helicopters buzzed overhead as the celebration strived to both thrill and offer a show of European solidarity.
It also featured a baby with feathered white wings and oversized head and a man dancing with a bird’s nest on his head. Music was provided by Alpine horn players, an army band and live choirs
A dance troupe also performed in just their underwear before fireworks were sent blasting into the sky outside the venue.
The out-there event was in honour of the world’s longest rail tunnel, running for 35 miles under the Swiss Alps, and was put together by German director Volker Hesse.
According to commentators, the performance explored the myths of the massif, the modernity of the book and the North-South reconciliation were its central themes.
The tunnel has come in under its £8.5billion and its creation will mean a million fewer trucks on the roads.
High-speed trains will whisk passengers and cargo in 17 minutes through a mountain range that divides northern and southern Europe between Erstfeld in the Swiss canton of Uri, to Bodio in the Ticino canton.
As the first train used the tunnel today, experts described the completion of the 17-year construction project as a ‘masterpiece of timing, cost and policy’.
Fittingly, the first ones to travel the tunnel at the official opening will be 500 lucky winners plus guests from the 130,000 who entered a ticket lottery for the inaugural trip.
Swiss forces took no chances with security for this afternoon’s funky inauguration.
Almost 2,000 additional Swiss troops were called, helicopters buzzed overhead and air space restrictions were put over the tunnel area.
When it officially opens, the Gotthard will surpass Japan’s 33.4-mile Seikan tunnel as the world’s longest train tunnel. The 31.4-mile Channel Tunnel that links England and France will be bumped into third place.
The tunnel along Europe’s main rail line that connects the ports of Rotterdam in the north to Genoa in the south snakes through the mountains as much as 1.5 miles below daylight and through rock as hot as 46 degrees Celsius (114.8°F).
Engineers had to dig and blast through 73 kinds of rock as hard as granite and as soft as sugar in creating it – a process that lead to the deaths of nine construction workers.
According to the Swiss rail service, it took 43,800 hours of non-stop work by 125 labourers rotating in three shifts to lay the tunnel’s slab track.
Bellow there’s an image gallery with the bizarre Satanic Ritual that took place at the opening of the tunnel. Among the images you can see, a half-naked woman whose breasts are exposed wearing a fallen angel mask, people bowing down to Baphomet the goat-headed demon and other weird rituals. The world is going nuts and Pope Francis is the Antichrist. He never once spoke about things like this. Instead he came out in support of massive immigration of Muslims into Europe and interbreeding between the natives and the migrants, he came in support of divorce and homosexuality and so on.
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