Hans Castorp, the leading character in Thomas Mann's novel "The Magic Mountain", is essentially completely healthy. He visits his cousin, who is being treated in a Davos sanitorium due to symptoms of tuberculosis. Castorp - fascinated by life in the sanitorium - defines the image of the sick guests anew. As he sees it, the illness enriches the people. In contrast, healthy people are merely shallow-minded. For Castorp, life in the sanitorium becomes the measure of all things...
Dr. Karl Turban founded the first closed tuberculosis sanatorium at high altitude in Davos (1889). He implemented strict discipline for the patients, with a regulated daily routine. The basis for his recovery treatments was the open-air recuperation spa, which patients were required to attend daily on the large terraces of the sanitorium in all weathers, during both summer and winter. The treatments were a success and increased the popularity and renown of Davos as a spa town.
World literature and the Nobel Prize
The novel "The Magic Mountain" became a piece of global literature. Thomas Mann gained the inspiration for the story from his own stay in Davos. His wife, Katia was suffering from tuberculosis and travelled to the recuperation spa at the woodland sanitorium Davos. This afforded Thomas Mann extensive first-hand information on life in the sanitorium. Five years after the novel was published, the author received the Nobel Prize for Literature in Sweden, rendering his entire works immortal. Just as Thomas Mann supposedly predicted in the speech at his 50th birthday party: "If I have one wish for the posthumous fame of my work, it is let it be said that it encaptures a zest for life, even though it was the product of death."