Old Town of Bern - Switzerland
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member manchanegra
N 46° 56.840 E 007° 27.040
32T E 382096 N 5200476
Quick Description: The Old town of Bern is an area formed by the boundaries of the peninsula formed by the river Aare. It´s an area with magnificent medieval houses, fountains and pedestrian streets.
Location: Espace Mittelland (BE/SO), Switzerland
Date Posted: 10/24/2011 11:29:32 PM
Waymark Code: WMCY3G
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 24

Long Description:
The city of Berne , is the "Bundesstadt" (administrative capital) of Switzerland and, with 140,000 people, is the fourth most populous Swiss city (after Zürich, Geneva and Basel).

Most of Berne's residents speak German, or more specifically, Bernese German, which is a high-Alemannic dialect. The Canton of Bern has a French-speaking part. Very few people still speak the Matteänglisch, a secret language used in the former workers' quarter Matte, but several words have found their way in the Bernese German.

Bern also functions as the capital of the Canton of Bern, the second most populous of Switzerland's cantons.

Illustrious Bernese include the reformer Albrecht von Haller, the poet Albert Bitzius and the painters Hans Fries, Ferdinand Hodler and Paul Klee. The German-born physicist Albert Einstein worked out his theory of relativity while employed as a clerk at the Bern patent office. A culturally important person was Mani Matter, a songwriter performing in Bernese German.

The History:
Duke Berthold V of Zähringen founded the city on the River Aare in 1191 and allegedly named it after a bear (Bär in German) he had killed. It was made an Imperial Free City by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II in 1218 after Berthold died without an heir. In 1353 Berne joined the young Swiss Confederation, becoming a leading member of the new state. It invaded and conquered Aargau in 1415 and Vaud in 1536, as well as other smaller territories, thereby becoming the largest city-state north of the Alps. It was occupied by French troops in 1798 during the French Revolutionary Wars, when it was stripped of most of its territories. In 1831 the city became the capital of the Canton of Bern and in 1848 it additionally became the Swiss (administrative) capital.

The city grew out towards the west of the boundaries of the peninsula formed by the river Aare. Initially, the Zytglogge tower marked the western boundary of the city from 1191 until 1256, when the Käfigturm took over this role until 1345, which, in turn, was then succeeded by the Christoffelturm (located close to today's train station) until 1622. During the time of the Thirty Years' War two new fortifications, the so-called big and small Schanze (entrenchment), were built to protect the whole area of the peninsula. The protection by these edifices was sufficient for the prosperous growth of the city of Berne up to the 19th century.

The Geography:
Bern lies in the Swiss plateau part of the Canton of Bern, somewhat west of the center of Switzerland. The landscape around Bern was formed by glaciers in the last ice age. The two mountains closest to Bern are the Gurten with a height of 858 meters and the Bantiger with a height of 947 meters. The site of the old observatory in Bern is the origin (600 000/200 000) of the CH1903 coordinate system, its international coordinates are 46°57'08.66?N, 7°26'22.50?E.

The city was originally built on a peninsula engulfed by the river Aare but outgrew the natural boundaries of the river in the 19th century. The following bridges were built to allow the city to grow outside of the boundaries imposed by the river:

1844 Nydeggbrücke (at the bottom, i.e. the East-End)
1883 Kirchenfeldbrücke (at the South-side)
1898 Kornhausbrücke (at the North-side)
The city is built on very uneven ground. There are several dozens of meters in height difference from the quarters down at the Aare (e.g. Matte, Marzili) to the higher ones (e.g. Kirchenfeld, Länggasse).

What to see:
Bern's city center (definetly a must see)is largely medieval and has been recognised by UNESCO as a Cultural World Heritage Site. Perhaps its most famous sight is the Zytglogge, an elaborate medieval clock tower with moving puppets. It also has an impressive 15th century Gothic cathedral, the Münster, and a 15th century town hall. Thanks to 6 kilometers of arcades, the old town boasts one of the longest covered shopping promenades in Europe.

Since the 16th century, the city has had a bear pit (the Bärengraben), which can be visited off the far end of the Nydeggbrücke. The Federal Building (Bundeshaus), dating from 1902, which houses Parliament and part of the federal administration, can also be visited at opening hours.

The Garden of Roses (Rosengarten), from where a scenic panorama view of the medieval city core can be enjoyed, is a well-kept Rosary on a hill, converted into a park from a former cemetery in 1913.
Probably the newest attraction of Bern is the set of fountains in front of the Bundeshaus. It was inaugurated on August 1, 2004, the Swiss national day.

The given coordinates will take you to the Münsterplatz right in front of Bern´s Cathedral, the Münster wich has a wonderfull view from the tower.

Text adapted from wikipedia
City, State or City, Country: Bern, Switzerland

Year Built: 1400 onward

Architect: unkbown

Webpage from GreatBuildings.com or other approved listing: [Web Link]

Other website with more information about building: [Web Link]

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Recent Visits/Logs:
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gemeloj visited Old Town of Bern - Switzerland 9/20/2013 gemeloj visited it
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manchanegra visited Old Town of Bern - Switzerland 5/12/2006 manchanegra visited it
manchanegra visited Old Town of Bern - Switzerland 5/12/2006 manchanegra visited it

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