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AP Photo/David Azia
Alpenhorn players perform along the Lac de Tracouet.

Photos: The Swiss toot their own horns at an annual mountaintop festival

Hundreds of musicians and spectators came together for a celebration of Swiss culture on July 26 at the Lac de Tracouet in Nendaz, Switzerland. The occasion: this year’s annual three-day long Alpenhorn Festival.

The alpenhorn, a huge wooden wind instrument, is world-famous for its length—musicians must rest the bell of the horn on the ground in order to coax sound from it. Traditionally used by farmers to signal others across valleys, alpenhorns have become an emblem of Swiss identity. Though it’s uncertain where they originated, archeological findings date versions of the instrument to 1400 AD.

AP Photo/David Azia
Alpenhorn players perform along the Lac de Tracouet.
AP Photo/David Azia
Alpenhorn players practice near the Lac de Tracouet.
AP Photo/David Azia
An alpenhorn player from the French Haute Savoie region performs.
AP Photo/David Azia
Men perform Schwingen, traditional Swiss wrestling.
AP Photo/David Azia
An alpenhorn player carries his instrument.
AP Photo/David Azia
A performer holds two alpenhorns.
AP Photo/David Azia
More than 200 alpenhorn players gathered in Nendaz on Sunday to perform as an ensemble in the Alpenhorn Festival.
AP Photo/David Azia
Alpenhorn players from the French Haute Savoie region walk along the Lac de Tracouet.
AP Photo/David Azia
Men throw Swiss flags in the air.
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