Search the FAQ Archives

3 - A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M
N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z
faqs.org - Internet FAQ Archives

The Internet Travel Guide - Switzerland (FAQ) (part 1/1)


[ Usenet FAQs | Web FAQs | Documents | RFC Index | Airports ]
Archive-name: travel/swiss-guide/part1
Url: http://www.pmgeiser.ch/schweiz
Posting-Frequency: monthly

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
SWITZERLAND

Peter M. Geiser

This is a small, but growing guide to Switzerland. The towns that are
presented are either well known places, or then small gems that do not
receive much attraction by the major travel guides.


**********************************************************************

SWITZERLAND - Peter M. Geiser's Hotel and Travel Guide

Copyright (c) 1996 - 2004, Peter M. Geiser

http://www.pmgeiser.ch
http://www.pmgeiser.com
http://www.mineralwaters.org
http://www.dussy.ch


**************************************************************************

GEOGRAPHY

Area          41'293 km2
Capital       Bern
Borders       Austria (165 km), Liechtenstein (41 km), Germany (363 km)
              France (572 km), Italy (741 km)
Highest point Dufourspitze (Monte Rosa), 4634 m
Lowest point  Lago Maggiore, 193 m

Time          GMT plus one hours

Measures      Metric
Electricity   220 V, 50 Hz

**************************************************************************

CLIMATE

In Switzerland, climate varies quite a bit, depending on the altitude of
the location.

In the mountains, it is often chilly, but on a good summer day you can
climb mountains in t-shirts.

During winter, Switzerland is excellent for skiing.

**************************************************************************

PEOPLE

Population           7.3 mio
- Swiss citizens     5.7 mio
- other nations      1.6 mio
Inhabitants per km2  166
                     
Languages            Swiss German (63%), French (19%), Italian (8%),
                     Rhaeto-Romanic (1%), others (9%)

**************************************************************************

PASSPORT AND VISA

A valid passport is required by every traveller.

A Visa is required by travellers from all countries except:
Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, Fiji, France,
Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein,
Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway,
Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, Vatican,
and all Carribean Island countries apart from the Dominican Republic and
Haiti.
Travellers from the following countries only need a visa if they intend to
stay for longer than three months: Australia, Canada, Cyprus,
Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Israel, South Korea, Poland, Slovak. Rep.,
Sloveia, South Africa, Central America.

**************************************************************************

MONEY

The currency is the Swiss Franc (CHF), divided into 100 Rappen.

Coins are issued in CHF 5, 2, 1, and 1/2 (= 50 Rappen), and in 20, 10 and
5 Rappen. There are also 1 and 2 Rappen pieces, but they are not used
anymore. The larger coins are of silver colour (copper-nickel), the 5 Rps
piece is a light gold and the 2 and 1 Rappen pieces are copper.

Notes are available in denomination of CHF 10 (yellow), 20 (purple),
50 (green), 100 (dark blue to violet), 200 (yellow-brown), 500 (brown)
and 1000 (violet-brown).

Although already among the bank notes most difficult to counterfeit,
the Swiss National Bank decided to issue a new series or bank notes.
So far, the CHF 50, 20 and 10 notes have been replaced, and the CHF 200
note has been added, but the others will follow. The new series uses
several new techniques to make it virtually impossible to copy them
(colour copy is out of question), like displaying the value on silver
fields that change the look depending on how you hold the note (similar
to holography.) Recently, a jury voted the new CHF 50 note the second
most beautiful note in the world.

Occasionally, you might encounter the old style of the small
notes. Their colours are red (10), blue (20) and green (50),
respectively.

The exchange rate is about USD 1 = 1.27 CHF (Apr 2004)

Travellers cheques denominated in most major currencies are accepted in
every bank.

Credit cards are widely accepted, but since there is usually quite a high
commission for the shops, it is not as liked as hard cash.

Many shops accept EC-direct.

**************************************************************************

POST

Postal service is very reliable and easy to use. There is a post office in
every village and in town there is one every couple of blocks.

Letterboxes can be found everywhere. They are a bright yellow (except some
in Basel, which are blue with a white dove on top.)

There are two types of mail: A (first class) and B (second.) A is
guaranteed to arrive the next day (within the country, that is), while B
may take a day or in very rare cases two longer. A costs CHF 1.00, while
B is only CHF 0.85.

**************************************************************************

TELEPHONE

The international direct dial code to Switzerland is 41.

The phone system in Switzerland is very reliable and stable.

Some area codes (to dial you need the prefix 0):

Arosa                      81
Baden                      56
Basel                      61
Bellinzona                 91
Bern                       31
Biel                       32
Brig                       28
Davos                      81
Fribourg                   37
Geneva                     22
Interlaken                 36
Lausanne                   21
Locarno                    91
Lugano                     91
Luzern                     41
Neuchatel                  38
Olten                      62
Rapperswil                 55
Schaffhausen               53
Schwyz                     43
Sion                       27
St.Moritz                  82
St.Gallen                  71
Vaduz                      75
Winterthur                 52
Zuerich                     1
Zug                        42


Some useful numbers:

Police                     117
Fire                       118
Ambulance                  144
General inquiries          111
International inquiries    114


**************************************************************************

FOOD & DRINK

Nearly every cuisine is available in Switzerland.

Depending on the restaurant, prices vary from below CHF 10 to more than
CHF 100. In the cities it is generally more expensive than elsewhere.
More often than not the restaurants that look rather ordinary from the
outside are the places to visit and restaurants that look posh are nothing
more than a big show.

Typical Swiss food includes Fondue, Raclette, and Roesti. There are, of
course, many other special dishes, that are often a speciality of one
small region. To get information about the local specialities, inquire at
traditional restaurants.

Fondue
Fondue is a kind of "cheese soup". In a deep pan in the middle of the
table a special mix of cheese, wine and kirsch (cherry schnaps) is molten.
It is eaten by putting small pieces of bread on a long fork and dipping it
into the molten cheese.
The typical drink for Fondue is white wine, or hot tea. For those with
difficulties to digest it is recommended to drink a kirsch or other
schnaps after the meal.

Raclette
Raclette is also molten cheese, but unlike Fondue it is cheese only,
without any additions. It is often eaten together with potatoes.

Roesti
Roesti are mashed potatoes. There are many local variations.

There is no really typical Swiss drink. But Switzerland has a long
tradition of fine wines.

**********************************************************************
**********************************************************************

ARBON

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/schweiz/index.php?id=Arbon

Arbon is located at the Bodensee (Lake Constance), and offers pleasant
parks to relax.

The name of Arbon stems from the old Roman Arbor Felix, happy tree.
There are still many remnants from that time, the walls and
foundations of the castle, as well as the ground floor of many town
houses.

Castle of Arbon
The castle was built on the place of the old Roman castle, but apart
from the foundations, there are no buildings left from that time. The
main tower is from the middle of the 13th century, the upper floors
from 1520, and the living quarters from 1515. The castle contains a
museum about the local history.

Just next to the old castle is the Gallus Chapel, founded in the 7th
century. Just to the left of the entrance is a stone with the
"Footprint of the Holy Gallus", the founder of St. Gallen. The current
building has replaced the old Roman basilica, and has been built from
1786 to 1789.

The Town Hall, built in 1768-1769, was originally the private home of
the prosperous linnen merchant Alberti, before it was converted in
1941 for the current purpose.

**********************************************************************

BASEL

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/schweiz/index.php?id=Basel

Basel is the second largest city in Switzerland. Located on the border
between Switzerland, France and Germany, it is the big rival of
Zurich.

The main attractions of Basel are the dome (Muenster), the big old
church. Enjoy the view over the Rhine from the tower.
	
**********************************************************************

BELLINZONA

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/schweiz/index.php?id=Bellinzona

The capital of the canton Ticino is located strategically at the
junction of several North-South routes: Gotthard, SanBernardino,
Nufenen, Lukmanier, Greina, as well as the East-West route SanJori -
Centovalli.

The main attraction of Bellinzona are the three dominating castles,
Castel Grande (or Castel Vecchio or Burg Uri), Castello di Montebello
(Burg Schwyz), and Castello di Sasso Corbaro (Burg Unterwalden). The
form an intricate defense system that virtually cut through the
valley. Built in the 13th century, and continually enlarged until
around 1500, it is one of Switzerland's most impressive defense
systems from the middle ages.

The church Santi Pietro e Stefno is an impressive Reniassance church
and was built between 1517 and 1565 by Tomaso Rodari, who also built
the Dome of Como.

**********************************************************************

LUCERNE

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/schweiz/index.php?id=Luzern

Lucerne is one of the most beautiful cities of Switzerland, if not the
world. It offers many historical sights, among them the world-famous
Kapellbruecke, and is an ideal starting point to explore Lake Luzern
(Vierwaldstaedtersee) or the many surrounding mountains, like the
Pilatus or the Rigi.

Glacier Garden
The Glacier Garden (Gletschergarten) is a mixture of several
attractions. The main attraction, and the one the museum gets its name
from, are the glacier mills, huge holes in the rocky ground made by
stones hat have been milled around by the moving glacier.

Apart from the glacier mills, there is a mirror labyrinth, an antique
house with pictures depicting mainly the Russian and French battles
from two century ago, a watch tower where you can enjoy a nice view,
and several smaller attractions.

Just next to the Glacier Garden is the famous Lion Monument.

Hofkirche Luzern
The origins of Luzern go back to a monastery founded in the 8th
century by Benedictine monks. The original church was dedicated to St.
Leodegar, or St. Leger. Towards the end of the 12th century, a
Romanesque church replaced the old building.

The current church, the Hofkirche was built after the old Romanesque
church burnt down on Easter Sunday in 1633 due to the carlessness of
its verger who was shooting at birds. The two towers that survived the
fire have been incorporated into the new design by Jakob Kurrer, a
Jesuit monk from Ingolstadt, who rebuilt the church between 1633 and
1644.

The massive doors show the two patron saints of Lucerne. On the left
door is the St. Leodegar, a French bishop blinded by a drill, which he
is still holding, the other door shows St. Maurice, a Roman
soldier-saint.

The interior is still original from the time of rebuilding the church.
On the north wall (left) is the only relic from before the fire is the
altar Death of the Virgin Mary from around 1500. The organ is one of
Switzerlands largest with 2826 pipes. Special registers allow for
imitations of rain, thunder and hail.

Kapellbruecke
The Kapellbruecke (Chapel Bridge) is Europe's oldest wooden bridge,
built around 1300. From 1614, Heinrich Waegmann has painted the
historical pictures in the roof of the bridge.

Abount two-thirds of the way is a strong water tower, also built
around 1300, to fortify the bridge. Apart from defense, the tower also
used to be an archive, a prison, and even kept the towns treasury.

Unfortunately, the original bridge burnt partly down some years ago,
but it has been restored faithfully and is again the gem it used to
be.


Lion Monument
The Lion Monument (Loewendenkmal) is Switzerland's oldest memorial
monument, carved out of the cliff in 1821. It remembers the Swiss
palace guard of the French king Louis XVI. 700 Swiss mercenaries were
guarding the palace, when, on 10 August 1792, French revolutionaries
stormed the Tuilleries, the royal palace. Louis XVI ordered the guards
to lay down the arms, and they were massacred by the mob.

Just next to the Lion Monument is the famous Glacier Garden.

Musegg Wall and Towers
The Northern part of Luzern's old town wall, the Musegg Wall, was
built around 1400 and is still intact for 870m.

There are nine watch towers, the Musegg Towers, some of which can be
visited. They are, in order from East to West: Daechliturm,
Allenwindenturm, Pulverturm, Schirmenturm, Zeitturm, Wachtturm,
Luegislandturm, Maennliturm, Noelliturm.

Verkehrshaus (Museum of Transport)
One of Switzerland's leading museums, the Museum of Transport
(Verkehrsmuseum) displays the history of transportation throughout the
world. Highlights are the collection of Swiss railway locomotives,
cars, historical airplanes, and even space ships (there is an original
cabin from the NASA Mercury program. You can experience what it was
like to be part of the workers that have built the first Gotthard
tunnel over a century ago, and you can even drive a train or a tram in
the simulator. Don't miss the stunning view from the 120 m high ride
in the captive balloon.

The Planetraium has some of the most modern technology. This largest
sky simulator of Switzerland displays an excellent show of the solar
system's planets, the stars constellation, and stunning pictures of
outer space.

Transportation of yet another form offers the large walkable map of
Switzerland, where you can see details down to the level of single
houses.

Attached to the museum is the IMAX Theatre, a cinema with an enormous
screen. Enjoy the shows, like Alaska - Sprit of the Wild, Helicopters
in Action, Blue Planet, Ocean Men, and many more.

Another annexe is the Hans Erni Museum. More than 300 works from this
painer, graphical designer, and sculptor are on display, and you can
buy souvenirs and prints at the shop.

**********************************************************************

NEUCHATEL

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/schweiz/index.php?id=Neuchatel

Neuchatel is a hilly city at the lake with the same name. It has about
35'000 inhabitants. Neuchatel belongs to the French speking part of
Switzerland.

There is little known about the origins, but it was founded most
likely in the 10th century. Mentioned first in 1011 as the residence
for the Kings of Burgundy, after 1033 it belonged to the master of
Fenis. From 1147 on it is the residence of the powerful Counts of
Neuchatel.

Castle of Neuchatel
Dominating the city is the huge castle on top of the castle hill. The
place has been used since the 10th century as a stronghold. The
current castle was built and several times enlarged between the 12th
and the 15th century for the powerful Counts of Neuchatel. The
buildings are grouped around a large courtyard. The current Donjon
dates from 1439 - 1465. Also note the intricately carved facade of the
south wing.

A bit older is the Prison Tower with three distinct levels from
different times. The lower part is from the 10th or 11th century, the
middle from the 13th century, while the upper part is from the 15th
century.

Collegiale Notre Dame
Located just next to the castle of Neuchatel, La Collegiale Notre
Dame, the big church of Neuchatel is a beautiful, Roman-Gothic
building originally from the 12th century. Parts of the original
buildings have been destroyed in a big fire in 1450.

Inside, the Collegiale is more inviting, with warm colours and a high,
star-covered ceiling. It has three naves and beautiful coloured glass
windows.

Just north of the church is a cloister. It has been reconstructed in
1873 - 1875. You can still see some old parts on the curch wall.

Fontaine du Banneret
Just below the castle is the Hotel du Banneret. Built in 1609 for Jean
Marval, it is a good example for a typical renaissance town house of
that time.

Just in front of the Hotel du Banneret, on the Place de la
Croix-du-Marche, is the Fontaine du Banneret is a richly embroidered
fountain. The statue on top carries a typical armour from the
Renaissance. It was created in 1581 by Laurent Perroud.

**********************************************************************

RAPPERSWIL

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/schweiz/index.php?id=Rapperswil

Rapperswil is located at the narrowest part of Lake Zurich. It
consists of a castle atop a ridge that clasw into the lake like a huge
finger, and three streets that run parallel to the hill. Rapperswil is
also called the Rose Town, because of its famous rose garden.

Rapperswil was founded around 1200 by the Lords of Rapperswil.
Conflicts with Zurich led to the partial destruction of the town by
Rudolf Brun, mayor of Zurich. Since 1803, it belongs to the canton of
St. Gallen.

Main Place of Rapperswil
Just below the castle is the beautiful medieval old town with many
histroically significant buildings. Its small, quaint alleys with the
numerous attractive shops are traffic free and invite the visitors to
take a stroll. For the hungry, the many inviting cafes and small
restaurants offer a variety of pleasurable food and drink. Be sure to
check out the row of restaurants directly at the harbour where you can
enjoy the terasses in the upper floor.

Some historically significant buildings

The Town Hall at the main place was built around 1470; its tower is
from 1615.
Landenburg House (Breny House), a bit furhter down from the castle on
Herrenberg is from the 15th century, with a 13th century tower.
Bleulerhouse (Hintergasse 16), built in 1606 by Uli Stierli, is a huge
late gothic stone building with massive arcades.

Rapperswil Castle
The castle of Rapperswil is perched atop a hill and offers a most
stunning view of Lake Zurich and the surrounding hills and mountains.
Its triangular structure with the three towers is quite unique.

The eastern tower houses the Polish museum that commemorates the
polish raising against Russia in 1863.

The park grounds have a small zoo with deer, a wine yard and the
famous rose garden.

Rapperswil Rose Garden
Rapperswil is also called the Rose Town, due to its beautiful and
extensive rose gardens located at the foot of the castleand the wine
yard. There are actually two sections just across the road from each
other. One is made especially for the blind, with roses that have a
particularly fragrant scent, and with the guide panels written in
brail.

All in all, there are more than 16'000 roses that bloom between May
and October. The gardens belong to the Capuchin monastery at the tip
of the peninsula.

Wooden Bridge Rapperswil - Hurden
Rapperswil is at the narrowest place of Lake Zurich. Being on the
Jacob pilgrims path to Santiago de Compostela, Rapperswil was visited
by travellers for centuries. A long, quite unsafe wooden footbridge
with loosely laid planks connected the two shores. Since the 19th
century, a dam used by cars and trains now makes the journey safe and
comfortable.

In April 2001, the wooden footpath was reconstructed, using modern
techniques. The 841 meters long bridge is a very pleasurable stroll of
about 20 minutes. Being a pilgrims path, there is also a small chapel,
excellently suited for paryer and contemplation. Each Palm Sunday, the
sunday before Easter, there is an organised pilgrimage from Rapperswil
to Einsiedeln.

There is variety of wildlife, many birds nest, and if you bring some
bread you will ensure the gratefulness of swans and duck.

On the Rapperswil side of the bridge is a picnic area where you can
buy some snacks and drinks, and relax in a pleasurable garden.

**********************************************************************

REGENSBERG

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/schweiz/index.php?id=Regensberg

Founded in 1244 by Luetold V. of Regensberg, this small town perched
atop the ridge of a hill has retained much of its medieveal charm. Its
houses form a city wall, surrounding a large open space with charming
gardens and a communal place with a fountain.

Old tower of Regensberg
Today, the only remnants of the founding time is the 21m high tower,
which is accessible and offers a beautiful view. The tower is round,
which is rather atypical for the region. The living quarters have been
rebuilt in 1585.

On 13 February 1302, his great-grandson Luetold VIII sold the whole
town to the house of Habsburg. The city obtained the right to hold a
market. In 1417, monetary difficulties of the Habsburgs led to the
sale to the town of Zurich.

The fire of 1538 destroyed most of the city, and many of the houses
that you can see have been built at that time.

**********************************************************************

SARGANS

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/schweiz/index.php?id=Sargans

Castle of Sargans
Sargans is located at the junction of two mighty valleys, the Rhine
valley, and the Walensee valley. Its main feature is the beautiful
castle, perched high above the valley. The caslte tower houses a
small, but exquisit history museum. The current buildings are from
1460.

The region of Sargans was inhabited since very early times, and there
are the ruins of a Roman villa. The mountain just behind the town, the
Gonzen, had rich iron mines. You can still explore the Gonzenbergwerk
on an informative tour. Inquire at the tourist office.

**********************************************************************

SCHMERIKON

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/schweiz/index.php?id=Schmerikon

Schmerikon is a small town at the end (or rather the beginning) of
Lake Zurich.

Schmerikon was mentioned the first time in 741 with its Old-German
name Smarinchova. Around 1200, Schmerikon became part of the
Grafschaft Uznach. At that time, the people from Schmerikon were
leading ship-builders. When the cantons Schwyz and Glarus purchased
the Grafschaft Uznach, Schmerikon became part of the Swiss
Eidgenossenschaft. In 1803, Schmerikon became part of the Canton St.
Gallen.

**********************************************************************

ST. GALLEN

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/schweiz/index.php?id=StGallen

St. Gallen is the town of the Holy Gallus, a monk that founded a small
chapel in the wilderness over 1'400 years ago. The chapel evolved into
a large monastery, and a surrounding town. The Dome and its library
are still St. Gallen's main sight, but there are many more reasons to
visit this beautiful town.

Old Town of St. Gallen
The Old Town of St. Gallen is still very much intact. Origninally, it
was of a round shape, but in the 15th century, the half-circular
"Irervorstadt" was added, giving the old town its unique shape.

Most of the old town is a pedestrian area, and it is also where most
of the unique shops are. Make sure you take your time for a leasurely
stroll through the quaint little streets. There are a lot of special
clothes shops, with St. Gallen's textiles and world-famous lace still
very much in evidence.

A lot of the houses have painted or carved bay windows (Erker), most
of them from around 16th or 17th century.

Peter and Paul Wildlife Park
High above the town is a small zoo, where some typical wild Swiss
animals have found a sancturay. It is a pleasant walk, with a view to
kill for (well, only if the weather is nice). You can see the full
length of Bodensee, the town, and wome of the surrounding mountains,
most notably the Saentis.

Most of the animals have been hunted to or nearly to extinction within
Switzerland. This park has been the source to resettle some of these
animals into the wild. The animals on display are various kinds of
Deer, Ibex, Chamois, Lynx, Wild Cat, Wild Boar, and Marmot.

It is open all year, and all day and night. There is no entrance fee,
but donations are welcome.

There is a restaurant, Peter und Paul which offers very good food. The
specialty is venison.

St. Gallen - St. Laurenzen
Founded in the 12th century, the current building of St. Laurenzen was
constructed between 1413 and 1422. It became the Protestant
counterpart of the Catholic Dome church.

The inside of the church is light, with a high, star covered ceiling
and a beautiful organ prospectus. The church is easily identified by
the colourful roof and its high, single spire. The view from the spire
is spectacular, but the tower is not always open.

St. Gallen Dome
The Dome St. Gallus and Otmar is definitely the main attraction of St.
Gallen. It is a pure Baroque church with two towers. The inside is
elaborately ornate, in my opinion the most beautiful church for
hundreds of miles.

The origins of this beautiful church go back about 1'400 years to the
time when Irish monks were preaching in the surrounding area. In 612,
a pupil of Columban, Gallus, was resting at the foot of a small
waterfall, when a bear approached him. The monk ordered the baer to
gather wood for a fire, and then told him to leave. Taking this as a
sign, Gallus started to live in the wilderness, built a small church,
and eventually founded a monastery that prospered for a long time.

The current Baroque church was built between 1755 and 1766 by Peter
Thumb.

In the same building as the church, but with the entrance from the
backside of it is the world famous library.

The Dome is a Roman-Catholic church, and the seat of St. Gallen's
Bishop Ivo Fuerer.

St. Gallen Dome Library
The monastery library of the Domeis of exquisite beauty. The floor is
tiled in differently coloured wood and the shelves are elaborately
carved. The ceiling was painted in 1762 / 1763 by artist Josef
Wannemacher.

The library contains thousands of antique invaluable hand written
books, many of the unique in both text and artistry. Due to the age
and value of the books it is not possible to browse through them, but
some the most beautiful volumes are in special display cases.

A rather strange curiosity is the old Egiptian mummy in one of the
corners.

University of St. Gallen HSG
The University of St. Gallen HSG is Switzerlands leading university
for Business Administration and Economy, and one of the best in
Europe. It also has excellent Legal studies.

When the old buildings of the university became too small, the
township was looking for a new location to build. A couple of years
earlier it had received by way of inheritance a large lot, but with
the condition to use it only for art. Since the lot was ideally
located for the new univerity building, the government decided to
connect schooling with art: the building itself was built in 1963 by
Walter M. Foerderer as a special piece of architecture, and filled with
artwork, thus becoming kind of art museum. The tradition continues
with new buildings that are added.

Notable pieces of art are from Jean Arp, Joan Miro, Georges Braque,
Alicia Penalba and Antoni Tapies in the old building, and in the newer
building from 1989 by Enzo Cucchi, Martin Disler, Gerhard Richter,
Josef Felix Mueller oder Luciano Fabro.

**********************************************************************

STEIN AM RHEIN

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/schweiz/index.php?id=Steinamrhein

Stein am Rhein is a very beautiful, small town that has retained its
middle-age charm. The old town is nearly completely preserved, and
many houses are over 500 years old. Its location at the river Rhine
adds another pleasurable feature, with terraced restaurants lining the
waterfront inviting the hungry and thirsty traveller.

A lot of the old houses have painted facades, some dating back to the
16th century. Most of these houses are grouped around the Rathausplatz
in the middle of the town. The Rathaus (Town Hall) was built between
1539 and 1542. Its facade was painted relatively recently, in 1898 -
1900 by Carl von Haeberlin and Christian Schmidt.

The only notable destruction happened on the 22 February 1945 when an
American pilot mistook Stein am Rhein for a German town and bombarded
it. The Untertor was destroyed, but was rebuilt in 1948 with the
original stones.

Former benedictine monastery St. Georgen has been used only for a
brief time, from 1002 until 1525. Unused for centuries, it was bought
towards the end of the 19th century by a university professor who
restored the monastery aand converted it into a worthwhile museum.

**********************************************************************

ZURICH

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/schweiz/index.php?id=Zurich

Zurich is the largest city of Switzerland, and its economical capital.
It is also, at least according to the many surveys conducted, the
world's city with the highest quality of life. The nearby
lakecompletes the beautiful setting and offers many beautiful
excursions.

Lindenhof
The Lindenhof is wide place with beautiful trees, and a good view over
the river Limmat and the old town. It is ideal for a short rest in a
busy day, and if you fancy a bit of Chess, you are sure to find some
players using the large sets availabale for public use.

Around 370 AD it used to be an old Roman castle.

Grossmunster (The Dome)
The Grossmuenster is Zurich's largest church. Its distinct twin towers
serve as a ready landmark in the city. The first hints for a Chrisitan
chapel dates back to the 7th century, but there is little known about
its beginnings.

The current basilica has been built in the 12th and 13th century in
typical Roman style with three naves. The towers have been enlarged
between 1487 and 1492, and, after a fire, have been rebuilt with
todays characteristic spires in 1781 to 1787. The tower is also open
to visitors.

The crypt dates from the 11th century. It houses a huge figure of a
sitting Charlemagne, dating around 1460. Its copy is on the Western
tower. The crypt has murals depicting the legend of Felix and Regula,
by the school of Hans Leu the older, end of 15th century.

Opening Hours

Church
15 Mar - 31 Oct: 9:00 - 18:00
1 Nov - 14 Mar: 10:00 - 17:00

Tower
15 Mar - 31 Oct: Mo - Sa 9:00 - 17:00
1 Nov - 14 Mar: Mo - Sa 10:00 - 17:00
All year: Su 13:00 - 17:00


Fraumunster

Arguably the most beautiful church in Zurich, the Fraumuenster is
famous for its coloured windows by Marc Chagall. Only the curch is
left from the former nunnery; its cloister has been replaced by the
town house.

When King Ludwig the German, a grand-son of Charlemagne, granted his
daughter the convent of Fraumuenster on 21 July 853 it was already a
convent. Hildegard's sister Bertha consecrated the convent in 874, and
built a crypt for the relics of Felix and Regula. Today, only some of
the foundations from these Carolingan and the following Ottonian times
are left.

The current building dates from the 13th century, and was enlarged
over the following two centuries. The slender tower is a landmark of
the skyline and sets a nice counterpoint to the twin towers of the
Grossmuenster.

The choir, in Roman style, was built aound 1250 to 1270 and is 18m
high! The paintings date from 1270.
There are famous coloured glass by Marc Chagall. Five high, narrow
windows have been inserted in 1970. On the north wall, the left
window, in red, shows the "Prophets", depicting Elisha watching Elijah
ascend to heaven in a chariot of fire, topped by Jeremiah in blue. The
next window, "Jacob", shows the patriarch struggling with an angel,
and his dream of a stairway to heaven. The main window in the middle,
the "Christ" window. Joseph stands next to the tree of life that has a
vision of Mary with the baby Jesus in her arms, and the Lamb of God at
her feet. There are scenes of the life of Jesus, with the crucified
Christ ascending towards heaven. The first window to the right, the
yellow "Zion" window, shows an angel announcing the beginning of
eternity and the New Jerusalem, ruled by King David. Finally, on the
south wall, the "Law" window, in blue, shows Isaiah in the arms of a
seraph, ready to announce peace to the world. Above is Moses, watching
the disobedience and the suffering of the people.

In the north transept, there is another beautiful window, created in
1940 by Alberto Giaccometti. The 9m high window shows God with his son
Jesus and eight of the prophets below. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
are framed by ten angels.

St Peter Parish Church
Zurich's oldest parish church is only a stone's throw from Lindenhof.
Its late roman-gothic church tower features Europe's largest tower
clock face, measuring 8.72 meters accross. There is a beautiful place
just in front of the church, excellently suited for a quiet rest in
pleasurable surroundings.

Zurichhorn
Starting from Bellevue along the lakeis a nice pedestrian area along
the quai, soon becoming a park where you will find half of Zurich
enjoying themselves on a sunny day.

Set back slightly from the water is an original Chinese Garden
imported from Zurich's sister town Kunming in China.

Just near the Restaurant Lake Side Zuerichhorn is Jean Tinguely's
world-famous machine "Heureka".

Uetliberg
The Uetliberg is Zurichs mountain with a truly stunning view over the
city. Its steep cliff towers more than 450 m over the town and the
Lake Zurich. If you climb to the top of the observation tower you are
at exactly 900 m altitude.
There are several restaurants and a hotel at the summit of the
Uetliberg.

Uetliberg makes a very good starting point for many excellent walks of
various difficulty. On a hot summer day, the walk down to Triemli is
nice and shady. For a longer walk along the crest to Felsenegg you
will enjoy the beautiful view over the lake.

To get there, take S10 from Zurich main station until the terminal
station, also called Uetliberg. From there, it is a short 10 min walk
until you reach the top.


Shopping

Bahnhofstrasse
The world-famous Bahnhofstrasse of Zurich is the most beautiful
shopping street. It stretches from the train station right down to the
lake, and is mostly free of traffic (except for the trams.) About two
thirds of the way towards the lake you will come to famous
Paradeplatz.

It offers unique shopping opportunities ranging from fashion to
chocolate and exquisite jewellery. The shops get more and more classy
as you near the lake.

Paradeplatz
The poshest place of all of Zurich, and of Switzerland, the
Paradeplatz is the heart of the shopping district. It enlarges the
Bahnhofstrasseto make room to breath.

The two large Swiss banks (as well as one or two smaller private
banks) overlook the place, as does the most famous Swiss chocolate
house, Sprungli. Sprungli has a good and popular, but extremely
crowded coffee shop on the first floor, and a shop on the ground
floor. Just next door is a Movenpick. Across the Banhhofstrasse, the
Savoy Hotel Baur en Ville completes the atmosphere.

Interesting to note is the fact that this symbol of banking and
capitalism in general was for a long time the pig market - quite a
contrast to todays setting.

Augustinergasse
Branching off the world famous Bahnhofstrasse, the Augustinergasse is
also a good place for shopping.

There are many historic houses with bautiful bay windows, both carved
and painted.

Niederdorf

The Niederdorf is a lively place with shopping during the day, and
nightlife starting early. Many nice restaurants (and a few not so
nice, but cheap places) and a lot of bars cater to the hungry and
thirsty.

Oberdorf

The Oberdorf is the "upper" part of Zurich's old town, grouped around
the Grossmunster (The Dome). There are many original shops, with a
unique offering that you will not find elsewhere.

A lot of Zurich's most popular bars are found in Oberdorf, as well as
many wild clubs, and several excellent restaurants.

**********************************************************************

SWITZERLAND - Peter M. Geiser's Hotel and Travel Guide

Copyright (c) 1996 - 2004, Peter M. Geiser

http://www.pmgeiser.ch
http://www.pmgeiser.com
http://www.mineralwaters.org
http://www.dussy.ch

**************************************************************************

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:

CAPTCHA


[ Usenet FAQs | Web FAQs | Documents | RFC Index ]

Send corrections/additions to the FAQ Maintainer:
<no-spam> (Peter M. Geiser; http://www.pmgeiser.ch/schweiz )





Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:12 PM