Swiss Cities in Depth: Zurich
"Switzerland is a small, steep country, much more up and down than sideways, and is all stuck over with large brown hotels built on the cuckoo style of architecture" -Ernest Hemingway, American Journalist, Novelist, Short-story Writer, and Sportsman.
Welcome back or welcome to Adventures at Franklin! This week, we have the fourth post in the "Swiss Cities in Depth" series! Check out the first post of Lugano, the second post on Bern, and the third post on Geneva. Geneva is the 2nd largest city in Switzerland (by population) so I think it is only fitting that I now cover the largest city in Switzerland.
I'll look briefly at Zurich's history and some sites to visit!
Early Beginnings: The first mention I could find of Zurich as a city was from 15 B.C. The Romans established Zurich, which was then called Turicum. Turicum was a military encampment. Roman rule ended around 400 A.D. and this coincided with the arrival of a Germanic tribe, the Allemanni. The Allemanni brought their language which has now become modern-day Swiss German.
Changing Times: In 1336, a revolution led by craftsmen created 13 guilds which contributed to Zurich's fortunes. These guilds still exist today and are celebrated in the April festival of Sechseläuten. This festival upholds tradition and announces the start of spring. The highlight includes blowing up a snowman!
Swiss Confederation, Growth, and Protestant: Zurich joined the Swiss Confederation in 1351, and actually fought with other existing cantons due to territorial expansion disputes. The city grew and drew its wealth from craft production, trading across the Alps, and contracting mercenaries to foreign powers. Zurich then became a key figure in the Reformation at the start of the 16th century due to influential people such as Huldrych Zwingli.
Swiss Federation and World Wars: In 1848, Switzerland became a Federation with the cantons being much more connected than ever before. One way this connection was facilitated was through the establishment of the trains and railway lines, which were established largely by people from Zurich. Switzerland remained neutral during the World Wars, many cities (especially Zurich) attracted all sorts of personalities, from James Joyce to Vladimir Lenin. The countercultural Dada art movement was born in Zürich in the wake of the horrors of WWI.
The Modern Zurich: Zurich also grew as an economic center because of banking and experienced an economic boom after WWI and WWII. Zurich was largely seen as a boring city made up of Protestant bankers, but several youth movements from 1960 to 1980 brought new ideas and new cultural life to Zurich. Nowadays, Zurich is a a popular place to live for younger and skilled workers.
Places to Visit!
Most of the time I have spent in Zurich is at its train station, but I do know of a few must-see places!
1. Old Town. Zurich has a gorgeous Old Town with a very rich history, and there's a couple sites in particular I enjoy seeing.
1A. Lindenhof provides a great view of the Old Town, Zurich University, the river, and more! Lindenhof is sometimes known as the birthplace of Zurich because it has been the site of many important events, and there is a tombstone from 180 A.D. with Turicum, the original name of Zurich!
1B. St. Peter's Church. The oldest church in Zurich, and also home to the largest tower face clock in Europe! The Großmünster is also located nearby and is very popular for visitors.
2. Bahnhofstrasse. A really cool shopping street, which connects Zurich train station to the lake.
3. Uetliberg. Located about 20 mins from the train station, Uetliberg is Zurich's own mountain where you have beautiful views of the city and lake. The Alps are even visible!
4. FIFA World Football Museum. I have never actually been inside, but I hope to be able to go one day. I think this museum is a must for any football fan.
As I stated earlier, I have not spent too much time exploring the city, so here are a few more of the popular attractions!
Overall, Zurich has always been and will continue to be a huge part of Switzerland. I know most FUS students will probably have only been to the train station or airport, but the city is vibrant and definitely worth visiting!
Come back same place same time next week for another post! Until then, stay safe and stay healthy.
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