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town, Valais canton, southern Switzerland. It lies at the head of the Mattervisp Valley and at the foot of the Matterhorn (14,692 feet [4,478 m]), 23 miles (37 km) southeast of Sion. Its name is derived from its position Zur Matte ("in the Alpine meadow") at an elevation of 5,302 feet (1,616 m). A year-round resort surrounded by mountains and glaciers, it commands some of the finest views in Switzerland and is also a popular centre for Alpine mountaineering and winter sports. Cableways are numerous, and the highest in Europe leads up the Klein-Matterhorn. Zermatt is reached by rail from Brig. Automobiles are not permitted in Zermatt and the valley road stops at Sankt Niklaus. The population is German speaking and Roman Catholic. Pop. (2007 est.) 5,808.