Five villages of national importance
There are ten sites in Binntal nature park which are listed in the Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites (ISOS) as places of national importance. Three further sites are of regional importance:
- Schmidigehischere and Wileren, areas of Binn (national importance)
- Fäld, hamlet in Binn (national importance)
- Ernen village (national importance)
- Mühlebach village, Ernen (national importance)
- Grengiols village (national importance)
- Niederwald village (national importance)
- Bodmen, Ammern, Wiler and Gadmen, four hamlets in Blitzingen (national importance)
- Steinhaus village, Ernen (regional importance)
- Ausserbinn village, Ernen (regional importance)
- Bächernhäusern, hamlet in Grengiols (regional importance)
Over the years, the communities of the Binntal nature park have endeavoured to preserve and safeguard cultural and natural values for the long term in their spatial and local planning (land use planning, building regulations, etc.). They were rewarded for their efforts when the Wakker Prize was awarded to the village of Ernen in 1979 and the Cultural Heritage Award to Binn in 1992.
Thanks to the diversion of the Goms traffic axis, Ernen, Mühlebach and Grengiols have been able to preserve the original nature of their villages. In 1861 the new Furka road was opened on the opposite side of the valley, shifting the traffic over the pass away from the three villages. This resulted in economic stagnation, which also had an effect on building activity: for about 100 years virtually nothing new was built.
The historical housing of the three communities in Binntal nature park reflects the farming system at different altitudes, with seasonal migration.
As land was farmed at different altitudes, which required both people and animals to move up and down often very steep terrain, at each altitudinal level families constructed the building stock necessary to cultivate and use goods and products. This type of farm, known as the inner-Alpine Streuhof ('scattered farm'), consists of single-purpose buildings, a dwelling house, stable, barn, granary, Maiensäss (house on the spring pasture) and alpine hut.