The original Bronze Age settlement here was located on the hill of Chastlatsch, above the present-day Hotel Castell. However, at the time of its first written mention at the beginning of the 9th century, Zuoz already occupied its current position.
In 1499, the inhabitants razed the village to the ground, fleeing with all their worldly possessions into the mountains, in an attempt to force the Austrian Imperial Army to retreat. As Zuoz has since been spared from fire, it is home to an exceptional number of historical buildings and the villagescape has even been declared of national importance.
Zuoz’s impressive appearance, with its grand houses, some almost palatial in design, is testimony to the leading political and cultural role it played until the 19th century. The imposing square in the village centre dates from the 16th century; until 100 years ago, the Landsgemeinde assembly for the Upper Engadin was held here.
The royal stores at Zuoz are thought to have been located where the Hotel Crusch Alva stands today, an indication of the importance of the ancient north-south connection across the Alps over the Julier and the Maloja Passes and its branch-off route through the Engadin towards the Vinschgau Valley.