SwissTraveling.com

A weblog about travel guides – tips, maps, photos and experience – in Switzerland.

Neuchâtel

Neuchâtel (French), German  Neuenburg, capital (since 1815) of Neuchâtel canton, western Switzerland, on the northwestern shore of Lake Neuchâtel, at the mouth of the Seyon River, partly on the slopes of the Chaumont (3,566 feet [1,087 metres]) and partly on land reclaimed from the lake. A Burgundian town by the 11th century, it was chartered in 1214. It was the centre of the former countship and principality (1648–1707) of Neuchâtel. Historic landmarks include the medieval castle (now the seat of the cantonal administration) and the Collégiale Notre-Dame (12th–13th century), now Protestant and containing the monumental tomb of the counts (1372). There are several fine 17th- and 18th-century patrician dwellings, including the Hôtel du Peyrou (c. 1765) and the town hall (1784–90), which is in classic style. The town’s institutions include the University of Neuchâtel (founded as an academy in 1838), the Institute of Physics, the Swiss Laboratory of Horological Research, the commercial school, the conservatory of music, the museum and public library in the Collège Latin, the cantonal observatory, and the fine Musée des Beaux-Arts. The city has an important wine market and its manufactures include watches, chocolate, tobacco, and paper.

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St. Moritz

St. Moritz is one of the most renowned holiday resorts of the world. Chic, elegant and exclusive with a pronouncedly cosmopolitan ambiance it is situated at 5624 ft (1856 m) above sea level, in the middle of the lake dotted landscape of the Upper Engadine. The “dry, sparkling champagne climate” has become legendary and the famous sun of St. Moritz shines on an average of 322 days a year.

St. Moritz in the Canton of Grisons is one of the best-known holiday resorts in the world. Chic, elegant and exclusive, with an extremely cosmopolitan air, the resort is located at an altitude of 1856 metres above sea level and surrounded by the beautiful lake landscape of the Upper Engadine.

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Chur

Chur (German), French Coire , Italian Coira , Romansh Cuera, capital, Graubünden (Grisons) canton, eastern Switzerland. It lies on the Plessur River in the Rhine Valley. The meeting point of roads from Italy over several Alpine passes, it was important in Roman times as Curia Raetorum, the centre of the Roman province of Raetia. First mentioned in 452 as the seat of a bishopric, it was ruled in the Middle Ages by its bishops, who became princes of the Holy Roman Empire in 1170. Chur was the centre of the Gotteshausbund (League of the House of God) against the power of the prince bishops and the Habsburgs in 1367, and it became the capital of the new canton of Graubünden in 1803. Notable landmarks include the Catholic Cathedral (1175–1282), the Episcopal (Bishop’s) Palace (rebuilt 1728–37), the Protestant Church of St. Martin (8th century, rebuilt 1476–91), the Raetian Museum, and art and natural history museums.

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Davos

Davos (German), Romansh Tavau town, Graubünden canton, eastern Switzerland, consisting of two villages, Davos-Platz and Davos-Dorf, in the Davos Valley, on the Landwasser River, 5,118 feet (1,560 metres) above sea level. The town is mentioned in historical documents of 1160 and 1213; it was then inhabited by Romansh-speaking people, but later in the 13th century it was settled by German-speaking people from the upper Valais. In 1436 it became the capital of the League of Ten Jurisdictions or Courts (see Graubünden), but it belonged to Austria from 1477 to 1649. After the 1860s it became a fashionable health resort, and in the 20th century it was developed as a skiing and winter-sports centre. In the 1990s Davos became famous for hosting the World Economic Forum, an annual winter gathering of international politicians and financiers who represented a transnational elite. Scholars of globalization used the term “Davos culture” to represent this elite group. The location of the World Economic Forum meetings moved from Davos to New York City in 2002. The population is mainly German-speaking and Protestant.

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Fribourg

Fribourg, German Freiburg, capital of Fribourg canton, Switzerland. It is located on a loop in the Sarine (Saane) River southwest of Bern. Founded in 1157 by Berthold IV, duke of Zähringen, to control a ford across the river, it passed to the sons of Rudolf of Habsburg in 1277. The Habsburgs abandoned it in 1452; it then accepted the suzerainty of the dukes of Savoy. Fribourg assisted the Swiss in defeating Charles the Bold of Burgundy at Grandson and Morat (now Murten) in 1476 and was admitted to full membership in the Swiss Confederation in 1481. Occupied by the French in 1798, Fribourg became part of the Helvetic Republic and then one of the cantons of the Swiss Confederation as reconstituted by Napoleon’s Act of Mediation in 1803.

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Schaffhausen

Schaffhausen (German), French  Schaffhouse,  capital of Schaffhausen canton, northern Switzerland, on the right bank of the Rhine, west of Lake Constance (Bodensee). The site was first mentioned in 1045 as Villa Scafhusun. About 1049 Count Eberhard III of Nellenburg founded there the Benedictine monastery of All Saints, around which the community developed. The town became a free imperial city between 1190 and 1218 but fell under Habsburg domination from 1330, until it bought its independence in 1415. It allied with the Swiss Confederation against the Habsburgs in 1454 and was admitted as a full member in 1501.

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Zug

Zug (German), French  Zoug,  capital of Zug canton, north central Switzerland, on the northeastern shore of Lake Zug (Zugersee), at the foot of the Zugerberg (3,409 ft [1,039 m]), just south of Zürich. First mentioned in 1242 as a possession of the counts of Kyburg, it was purchased by Rudolf IV of Habsburg (later Rudolf I of Germany) in 1273. It entered the Swiss Confederation in 1352, and after several turbulent decades the Habsburgs renounced all claims to the town. Zug joined the league of Swabian cities against Leopold of Habsburg and shared in the victory at Sempach in 1386. At the time of the Reformation, it remained Roman Catholic and became a member of the Golden, or Borromean, League in 1586. In the 14th and 15th centuries it acquired various districts in its neighbourhood, which it ruled as subject lands until 1798. Historic landmarks include the Zytturm, or Clock Tower (1480), the town hall (1505), St. Oswald’s Church (1478–1545), and the Capuchin monastery (1597). An important cattle market, Zug manufactures metal goods, electrical apparatus, and textiles. The population is German speaking and mainly Roman Catholic.

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Einsiedeln

Einsiedeln, French  Notre-Dame-des-Ermites, town, Schwyz canton, northeast-central Switzerland. It is located on the right bank of Alp Stream, northeast of Schwyz city. It developed around the Benedictine abbey, founded in 934. The abbey became a principality of the Holy Roman Empire in 1274 and belonged to Schwyz after 1386. Its wooden statue, the “Black Virgin” (which owes its name to the discoloration caused by the candles burned before it through the centuries), became a sacred object of European pilgrims from the 14th century. Huldrych Zwingli, the religious reformer, was the parish priest there from 1516 to 1518, and the Renaissance physician Paracelsus was born near the town. In addition to being the largest and most famous Swiss pilgrimage resort, Einsiedeln is a winter sports centre and has printing, machinery, and furniture industries. The population is largely German speaking and Roman Catholic.

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Thun

The town of Thun located on the lake of the same name is the gateway to the Bernese Oberland and an ideal starting point for excursions to the nearby Alpine foothills and Alps. The impressive castle and historic old town, bathing beaches, promenades and Alps in the background provide a picturesque setting for Switzerland’s tenth-biggest town.

The small town of Thun is beautifully situated at the western end of the lake of the same name and offers views of the snow-covered Alps. The impressive castle towers above the late-medieval town: the Romanesque residential tower with its four angle towers is a popular photo subject. The high pavements in the main street of Thun where businesses and restaurants are arranged on two levels are also well worth seeing. The pedestrian-friendly “Bälliz” street is great for shopping.

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Interlaken

Interlaken in the Bernese Oberland between Lakes Thun and Brienz and at the feet of the three famous peaks Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau is a holiday and conference resort of international importance, and an ideal starting point for countless excursions to the region’s top destinations.

The composer Felix Mendelssohn wrote: «If you haven’t seen the Interlaken contryside, you haven’t seen Switzerland.» The fashionable holiday resort with village character and a spacious park nestles between Lakes Thun and Brienz at an altitude of 570 metres above sea level and boasts a fantastic view of the Jungfrau Massif. The “Höheweg“, a 700-metre-long boulevard, is Interlaken’s promenade wooeing passers-by with windows of exclusive boutiques, watch and jewellery shops and luxurious hotels.

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