Bern, Switzerland

Bern (bɛrn), also spelled Berne, is the de facto capital of Switzerland, referred to by the Swiss as their “federal city”, in German Bundesstadt, French ville fédérale, and Italian città federal. For decades, the Swiss capital has been unchanged, offering tourists the imaginable beauty of all the cobblestones, clocks, and the old world. It sits in a short Aare River path. With a population of around 144,000 (as of 2020) Bern is Switzerland’s fifth-populated region. It’s small enough to explore on foot and it couldn’t be easier for public transportation.

Bern’s old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and thanks to its 6 kilometers of arcades the locals refer to it as ‘Lauben’ boasts one of Europe’s longest shopping promenades, shielded by the sun. Bern is additionally the capital of the canton of Bern, the second-most populous of Switzerland’s cantons. The official language in Bern is (the Swiss sort of Standard) German, but the most-spoken language is an Alemannic Swiss German dialect, Bernese German. The medieval air of this city with its many fountains, sandstone facades, narrow streets, and historic towers is exclusive.

The presence of Nydegg ‘s ancient fortress, defending a bridge over the Aare, possibly led Berthold V, Duke of Zähringen, to establish Bern as a military post on the border between the German-speaking Alemanni and Burgundy’s French-speaking inhabitants in 1191. After the extinction of the Zähringen dynasty (1218), Bern became a free imperial city. In 1353, Bern joined nation Confederacy, becoming one among the eight cantons of the formative period of 1353 to 1481. Bern was the site of a 1528 conflict between Roman Catholics and Reformers that led to his adoption of the Protestant doctrines and the ensuing championship.

Bern was occupied by French troops in 1798 during the French Revolutionary Wars when it absolutely was stripped of parts of its territories. It regained possession of the Bernese Oberland in 1802, and newly inherited the Bernese Jura after the Congress of Vienna in 1814. In 1848 Bern was made the Swiss Confederation’s political capital. Old Bern, which is connected to newer parts of the city on the right bank by several bridges, preserves more of its medieval appearance than any other Swiss town.

Bern has the finest meat, chocolate, and gelato you might ask for and there’s also a vibrant café scene including the Einstein Cafã next to the museum marking Bern’s time as a patent clerk for the popular scientist. The Gothic cathedral (1421–1598), with its 328-foot (100-meter) spire the very best in Switzerland is that the dominant landmark. Also notable are town Hall (Rathaus; 1406–16, restored 1942) and also the Nydegg Church (1494). The Federal Palace (Bundeshaus; 1851–1902) houses the Swiss federal parliament, likewise because of the administrative and executive offices of the federal government.

The old town’s boutiques, bars and cabaret stages, some of which are situated in vaulted cellars, and the small street cafes draw locals and many visitors alike. While Bern has a very good network of public transport it is best to explore the city center on foot. The famous tower (Zeitglockenturm), with a 16th-century clock and mechanical puppets that perform four minutes before every hour, and therefore the Cage Tower (Käfigturm) are the 2 remaining towers of the old walls that when protected the town.

Bern has an area, as of 2013, of 51.62 km2 (19.93 sq mi). Of this area, 9.42 km2 (3.64 sq mi) or 18.2% is used for agricultural purposes, while 17.21 km2 (6.64 sq mi) or 33.3% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 23.76 km2 (9.17 sq mi) or 46.0% is settled (buildings or roads), 1.08 km2 (0.42 sq mi) or 2.1% is either rivers or lakes, and 0.14 km2 (0.054 sq mi) or 0.3% is unproductive land. The River Aare provides the ultimate swimming experience in summer; very healthy, experienced swimmers encourage themselves to float along in the clean Aare while enjoying a view of the House of Parliament. Just along the river is the Botanical Gardens, as are the Dählhölzli Zoo and the old Matte neighborhood. Bern and bears, heraldic beasts of the cities, are inseparable. A Bear Park tour, home of a bear family, is a must-do.

The most prominent attraction in Bern is probably the bear trap, where bears have been kept on display at the expense of the city since 1480. In 1983 Old Bern became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Albert Einstein House bears testimony to the physics genius’s stay in Bern at the beginning of the 20th century and should ideally be combined with a visit to the Einstein Museum. With the History Museum, Art Museum, Swiss Alpine Museum, and Communication Museum Bern offer a really varied range of exhibitions.

The University of Bern was founded in 1834 and incorporates the Theological School (founded 1528). The City and University Library (1528) contains many manuscripts and rare books. The Swiss National Library (1895) is also located in Bern, as are the Swiss National Bank headquarters. The Rose Garden (Rosengarten), from which you can enjoy a scenic panoramic view of the medieval town center, is a well-kept Rosarium on a hill, converted from an old cemetery in 1913 into a park. The Museum of Fine Arts (Kunstmuseum), opened in 1879, houses the world’s largest collection of works by the Swiss painter Paul Klee a total of more than 2,000 items.

The most recent sight in Bern is the group in fountains facing the Federal Palace; it was inaugurated on 1st August 2004. Colorful weekly markets display their wares on the squares of the city center. Particularly worth a visit is the Onion Market (Zibelemärit), which takes place on the fourth Monday in November: visitors to the traditional onion market start pouring into town in the early hours. Its industries include printing, chocolate, machinery, electrical equipment, and chemical and pharmaceutical products. The regional airport, named Bern-Belp or Belpmoos in colloquial form, is linked to several European cities.

 

Information sources:

  1. britannica.com
  2. myswitzerland.com
  3. wikipedia