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Berne - The Capital of Switzerland

It is very hard not to like Bern, the capital of Switzerland.. The beautifully preserved historical core is one of the most beautiful among the most important European cities, and all this is supplemented with some special charm with which the city is exuded.

The wooden Chappel Bridge in Lucerne

Zytglogge - The Clock Tower in Bern

Sights to see in Berne

Bern Fountains

Cathedral of Bern

Swiss Parliament

Bernese Highland

Bern Old Town

Arcades Bern

A soon as you arrive at the main train station in Bern and show up at the Bahnhofplatz, the square in front of the railway station, you can feel that Bern is different from other large Swiss cities.

It is lively, somewhat more relaxed, there are more young people walking the streets and you do not have the feeling that almost everyone around you is hurrying to work or an important meeting.

If you come to Spitalgasse and continue along Markt and Kramgasse, you will notice one of the Berne features - the magic of the Renaissance fountain with vivid sculptures. Thus, among them, Samson is shown how he kills a lion and the Duke Berthold V. Zähringen, the founder of Berne, with whom the legend is related to the name of the city.

According to this story, Bern was named after Berthold went hunting and decided to name the new town for the name of the first animal he caught. How it was a bear (Bären - bears), the city was named Berne.

For this reason, on the mentioned fountain between his legs is a calf bear.

The Cathedral of Bern

That is the reason that the bear in the city of Bern is seen everywhere.

In addition to the city's coat of arms, for centuries, there is a bear cave in the center of the city, something like a disused zoo in which the bears are tending.

Since 2009, four brown bears have received a new park on the edge of the Aara River coast, much more suited to their living needs.

One of the interesting features of Berne are the non-transparent arcades. There are about six kilometers in total and are especially useful during the rainy weather, when you can hang around or go shopping without worries.

Inside them, at Kramgasse 49, there is an apartment where one of the most famous 20th-century scientists, Albert Einstein, spent part of his life. He has just spent his most fertile years in Bern, among which a special place is taken in 1905, when he introduced a famous theory of relativity.

At the mentioned address today is Einsteinhaus, a simple museum dedicated to the life of this genius, while in the area of ​​the Berne Historical Museum is the Einstein Museum with much more content than the House.

Arcades in Bern

An excellent preserved old town, which was included in UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1983, is dominated by the tower of the magnificent cathedral of St. Vinka. It offers unparalleled views of the city and its surroundings, all the way to powerful alpine peaks.

Of course, there is also the Bundeshaus, the political center of the most developed world democracy - Switzerland.

The building was completed only in 1902, and the Parliament and the Government also seated it. Interestingly, in that country, whose democracy acts as a utopia to many, there is neither the president nor the prime minister.

The Swiss government manages the government with seven ministers, each of whom is elected one each year as their representative, but that person has no special additional powers.

There is also a number of other sights, such as the great center of the famous artist Paul Klee, whose life is largely linked to Bern, the Rosary with 220 different species of this favorite flower or Gurten, the Berne 'home mountain'.

Anyway, if you give her a chance, the Swiss capital will not disappoint you!

View from the Cathedral in Bern

The Old City is home to Switzerland's tallest cathedral as well as other churches, bridges and a large collection of Renaissance fountains.

In addition to many historical buildings, the seats of the federal, cantonal and municipal government are also situated in the Old City. It is a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Site since 1983 due to the compact and generally intact medieval core and is an excellent example of incorporating the modern world into a medieval city.

Numerous buildings in the Old City have been designated as Swiss Cultural Properties of National Significance, as well as the entire Old City.

Bundeshaus - The Swiss Parliament

Following the Sonderbundskrieg (German:Separate Alliance War) in 1847, Switzerland established a federal constitution and Bern was chosen as the capital of the new Federal State.

The vote to make Bern the federal city was met with little enthusiasm (419 vs 313 votes) in Bern due to concerns over the cost.

The first Bundesrathaus or Parliament House was built in 1852–1857 by the city of Bern in a New-Renaissance style. The mirror image Bundeshaus Ost (East Federal Building) was built in 1884–1892. Then, in 1894–1902 the domed Parlamentsgebäude or Parliament Building was built between the other two buildings. 

The three parliament buildings represent the majority of the new, federal construction in the Old City. Most of the other buildings that come with a national capital were placed outside the Old City or were incorporated into existing buildings.

For centuries the famous Bärengraben (German: Bear Pits) were located in the Old City. According to the Bernese historian Valerius Anshelm, the first bears were kept on Bärenplatz (German: Bears' Plaza) in 1513. They were moved from the modern Bärenplatz to the Schanzengraben near the former Christoffelturm in 1764. However, the bears remained in the Old City until the expansion of the new capital forced them out. The bears and the Bärengraben were moved from the Old City across the Aare on 27 May 1857.

In the twentieth century, Bern has had to deal with incorporating the modern world into a medieval city. The plaza where the Christoffelturm used to be, has become the central bus stop for the city.

The main train station was built under the plaza, and actually includes some of the foundations from the Christoffelturm and wall in the train station. However, one of the biggest challenges has been integrating automobile traffic into the Old City. Due to the number of important buildings in the Old City and the central location of the Old City, it was impossible to completely close off this area to vehicles. 

While some streets have remained pedestrian zones, most major streets carry city buses, trams or personal vehicles.

Places to see - Travel and Activities

Hotels in Bern

Restaurants in Bern

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