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Old military bunkers reinvented for commercial use

With the threat of foreign invasion a thing of the past, thousands of military bunkers and fortresses in Switzerland have been put to commercial use, from hotels to data centres, museums to cheese factories. The Swiss army has sold most of these decommissioned strongholds, but about a thousand unused bunkers remain, many still disguised as houses and barns.

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A view shows the restaurant at the Hotel La Claustra in a former Swiss army bunker on the St. Gotthard mountain pass, Switzerland. With the threat of foreign invasion a thing of the past, thousands of military bunkers and fortresses in Switzerland have been put to commercial use, from hotels to data centres, museums to cheese factories.

Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

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A bunker at a former Swiss artillery fortress called Heldsberg stands near the town of St. Margareten, Switzerland. Heldsberg fortress, located on the Swiss-Austrian border near the River Rhine and Lake Constance was built from 1938 to 1940 and remained in military use until 1992. Since 1993 it is open to the public as Fortress Museum Heldsberg.

Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

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Alex Lussi of Swiss mushroom producer Gotthard-Pilze picks a shiitake mushroom inside a former ammunition bunker of the Swiss Army near the town of Erstfeld, Switzerland. In eleven former bunkers Gotthard-Pilze produces some 24 tons of shiitake mushrooms per year.

Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

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Sasso da Pigna fortress, located at 2,106 m (6,909 ft) altitude on the St. Gotthard mountain pass was built from 1941 to 1945 and was in military use until 1999. Since 2012 it has been open to the public as Sasso San Gottardo museum.

Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

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An artillery control room is seen in a bunker at a former artillery fort in the town of Faulensee, Switzerland October 19, 2015. Artillery fort Faulensee was in military use from 1943 to 1993 and is now open to the public as a museum.

Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

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A tunnel connects the bunkers at a former Swiss Army artillery fort in Faulensee, Switzerland, it is now open to the public as a museum.

Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

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A 10.5cm gun stands in a bunker at a former Swiss Army fort in the town of Faulensee, Switzerland and is now open to the public as a museum.

Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

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A machine-gun bunker, part of a former Swiss artillery fortress called Fuchsegg, is camouflaged as a stable beside the Furka mountain-pass road near the village of Realp, Switzerland. Fuchsegg fortress, located in the central Swiss Alps, was built in 1943 and remained in military use until 1993.

Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

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Raclette cheeses made by Swiss cheesemaker Seiler Kaeserei AG mature in storage racks in a former ammunition bunker of the Swiss Army in the town of Giswil, Switzerland.

Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

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The muzzle of a 15cm gun is seen in a bunker at the former artillery fort Furggels of the Swiss Army near the village of St. Magrethenberg, Switzerland. Artillery fort Furggels was in military use from 1946 to 1998 and is now open to the public as a museum.

Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

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