Cities & Towns

Main Cities & Towns of Switzerland.

 

Bern
Bern is the capital of Switzerland, and also the capital of the canton of the same name.
As the seat of government, the city houses the federal ministries and a number of other federal institutions, including the National Bank. It is also the headquarters of the Universal Postal Union, one of the specialized agencies of the United Nations. In addition it is the seat of public services, such as Swiss Post (the state-owned post office) and the Swiss Federal Railways. The city has a small airport in the suburb of Belp. Although Zurich is Switzerland's main rail hub, Bern has a direct rail service to several of the major cities of Switzerland, as well as to European cities such as Paris, Berlin, Barcelona and Milan.
Canton: Bern
Area: 51.6 km2 (19.92 square miles)
Population (city): 122,178 (2005)
Population (agglomeration): 349,096 (December 2000)
Height above sea level: 540 m (1772ft)
Languages: Bern dialect of Swiss German, High German
 
Zurich
Zurich is the capital of the canton of the same name. It lies on the river Limmat where it flows out of Lake Zurich, and is the largest town in Switzerland.
The city is a cultural mecca, and in international polls frequently figures among the most desirable cities in the world to live in. In the 19th and 20th centuries in particular it attracted many notable writers, artists and composers. The Dada art movement was born in Zurich's Cabinet Voltaire in 1916. Today it boasts not only many museums, theatres and concert halls, but some 500 bars, nightclubs and discos. The Bahnhofstrasse is one of Switzerland's prime shopping streets.
The Neue Zürcher Zeitung ("New Zurich Newspaper") is Switzerland's most prestigious newspaper. It was first published in 1780, and is one of the oldest German language newspapers still in existence.
The city is home both to Zurich University and to one of Switzerland's two prestigious Federal Institutes of Technology, the ETHZ. Between 1975 and 2002 the ETHZ alone produced 7 Nobel science laureates.
Switzerland's largest airport is in Kloten near Zurich. The city is also an important rail hub. As for urban transport, Zurich claims to have the best-served urban traffic network in the world.
Canton: Zurich
Area: 99.88 km2 (38.56 square. miles)
Population (city): 347,517 (2005)
Population (agglomeration): 1,080,000 (census 2000)
Height above sea level: 408 m (1339 ft)
Language/s: Zurich dialect of Swiss German, High German
 
Basel
Basel, the capital of the half canton of Basel City, is in north west Switzerland, at the point where the Rhine bends northwards. It borders on both Germany and France and is part of the Upper Rhine Euroregion, which covers the border area of the three countries.
Basel is the centre of the Swiss chemicals and pharmaceutical industries. The well-known pharmaceutical firms Novartis and Roche not only have their roots in Basel, but also the headquarters and some of their production.

The Rhine divides the city into two parts. On the left bank is Grossbasel (Greater Basel), and on the right is Kleinbasel (Lesser Basel.) The traditional enmity between the two is reflected on the one hand by the bust of the so-called Lällekönig ("tongue king"), at the Grossbasel end of one of the Rhine bridges, who sticks his tongue out at the right bank. Kleinbasel repays the compliment in its Vogel Gryff carnival, where the traditional carnival figures dance on the bridge demonstratively turning their backsides to their rival.

Basel is not only an important European rail hub and the centre of the freight division of the Swiss Federal Railways, it also has an airport, EuroAirport, which it shares with the French city of Mulhouse and the German city of Freiburg. (Most of the airport is built on French territory.) Switzerland's four Rhine ports are also in or close to Basel.
Canton: Basel-City
Area: 37 km2 (14.29 sq miles)
Population (city): 163,930 (2005)
Population (agglomeration): 479,308 (census 2000)
Height above sea level: 244 m (800 ft)
Language/s: Basel dialect of Swiss German, High German
 
Geneva
Geneva is the capital of the canton of the same name, and is Switzerland's second biggest city. It lies in the south-west, near the border with France, at the western end of Lake Geneva, where the Rhone flows out of the lake.
A number of international organizations have their headquarters in Geneva. These include the European headquarters of the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the UN High Commission for Refugees and CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.
It is also the site of the headquarters of the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Geneva is also well known for its watches. The Geneva Seal, or Poinçon de Genève, is a quality hallmark which is only granted to a select range of luxury watches according to strict criteria. Each year Geneva holds an exclusive fair, the International Salon for Prestige Watchmaking.
Geneva is also known for its car fair, held every year in March. Other fairs held in Geneva include the Inventors' Fair and the Book Fair.
The city has Switzerland's second largest airport, Cointrin. It is linked directly by rail with Paris, and also with Milan, via the Rhone valley. Within Switzerland it has direct trains to Lake Constance at the opposite end of the country via Bern and Zurich.
In international surveys ranking cities of the world for their quality of life, Geneva usually figures very near the top.
Canton: Geneva
Area: 158.60 km2 (61.24 square miles)
Population (city): 178,722 (2005)
Population (agglomeration): 470,000 (census 2000)
Height above sea level: 375 m (1230 ft)
Language: French
 
Lausanne
Lausanne, the capital of Canton Vaud, lies on Lake Geneva in the French-speaking area of Switzerland.
It is Switzerland's fifth largest city, and the main economic and administrative centre in the west of the country after Geneva.
Lausanne houses the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). A number of international sport federations are also based in the city: table tennis, volleyball, baseball, fencing, wrestling, swimming, archery, air sports, and rowing.
Lausanne is the home of one of Switzerland's two Federal Institutes of Technology, the EPFL. (The other – the ETHZ – is in Zurich.) It also houses the Federal Supreme Court.
Although Lausanne is overshadowed by Geneva as a centre of international diplomacy, it has hosted a number of international conferences, including the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne which settled the borders of Turkey after World War I.
Lausanne is an important railway hub, on the line from Bern to Geneva. It is linked directly with Paris and is also the gateway to the Rhone valley.
The town is characterized by its steep streets. A gorge runs through the centre, which made it necessary to build bridges from one neighborhood to another. A set of covered stairs leads up to the cathedral; a cogwheel railway (originally a funicular) links the railway station with the lakeside.
Canton: Vaud
Area: 41.37 km2 (15.97 square miles)
Population (city): 117,388 (2005)
Population (agglomeration): 311,441 (census 2000)
Height above sea level: 375-900 m (1230 – 2950 ft)
Language: French
 
Winterthur
Winterthur is the second largest town in Canton Zurich. It lies on the river Eulach, about 28 km (17 miles) north east of Zurich.
Winterthur is famous for its engineering industry – diesel motors, textile machinery, and locomotives.
The town is also renowned as a cultural centre, and has the nickname of "City of Museums." It is particularly rich in art museums – including a photographic museum – but is also home to the Technorama hands-on science museum.
It is about 25 km (15.5 miles) east of Zurich's Kloten airport, to which it is linked by rail on the line between Zurich and St Gallen or Lake Constance.
Despite the town's industrial character, Winterthur benefits from a number of green spaces. In 1989 its enlightened urban planning won it the Wakker Prize awarded annually by the Swiss Heritage Society (Schweizer Heimatschutz) to a commune which has harmonized its historic heritage with the need for modern development. Now that the factories have left it, the old industrial part of Winterthur, the Sulzerareal, near the centre of the city, is being transformed into a lively residential and cultural area.
Canton: Zurich
Area: 67.93km2 (26.23 sq miles)
Population: 93,546 (2005)
Height above sea level: 439 m (1440 ft)
Language/s: Zurich dialect of Swiss German, High German
 
St Gallen
St. Gallen is the capital of the canton of the same name, in north eastern Switzerland. It lies in a valley between two ranges of hills, and has been nicknamed "the city of a thousand steps" because of the many steps built up both hills.
The city is the economic centre of eastern Switzerland. Its own linen-based textile industry goes back to the 15th century. It became known not only for the production of linen, but also for its embroidery. In order to keep its leading position, it took a pioneering role in the mechanization of the industry. It has overcome several crises in the industry and even today both its textile products and its embroidery machinery enjoy an international reputation.
The city is a railway hub for eastern Switzerland. It has a through service to Zurich airport, Zurich, Bern, Geneva and Geneva airport. It is also linked by rail with the Rhine valley, Lake Constance and Central Switzerland. The small airport of St Gallen-Altenrhein on the border with Austria flies mainly to Vienna, and is also used by private traffic.
However, the overwhelming majority of the city's enterprises are now in the service industry. The most important non-service industries are engineering, paper and printing, and textiles.
The city's university, founded in 1898 as a "trade academy" (Handelsakademie) specializes in business, economics, law and social sciences. It is regarded as one of Europe's leading universities for economics.
A thousand years before the creation of the university, St Gallen was already a cultural and educational centre, thanks to the library and school attached to its abbey. The library remains a cultural treasure even today, both for its 18th century building and for its mediaeval manuscripts (some dating back to the 9th century.) It has been inscribed on the UNESCO list of world heritage.
It received the Wakker prize in 1992. The prize is awarded annually by the Swiss Heritage Society (Schweizer Heimatschutz) to a commune who has harmonized its historic heritage with the need for modern development.
Canton: St Gallen
Area: 39.41 km2 (15.22 square miles)
Population (city): 70,316, (2005)
Population (agglomeration): 146,385 (census 2000)
Height above sea level: 675 (2,215 ft)
Language/s: St Gallen dialect of Swiss German, High German
 
Lucerne
Lucerne (German: Luzern) is the capital of the canton of the same name. It lies at the north western end of Lake Lucerne, where the river Reuss flows out of the lake. Lucerne is the economic and cultural centre of central Switzerland.
The economy of Lucerne is based on tourism and commerce. It also offers services in such areas as transport, health and consulting. There are over four and a half jobs in the service sector for every one job in industry or agriculture.
Lucerne has direct train links with most major Swiss cities and to Milan. It is served not only by the Swiss Federal Railways, but also by the private Zentralbahn.
The city has a small university, which is to be expanded in the next few years. Its theology department enjoys a particularly strong reputation.
Canton: Lucerne
Area: 24.15 km2 (9.324 square miles)
Population (city): 57,533 (2005)
Population (agglomeration): 196,550 (census 2000):
Height above sea level: 436 m (1430 ft)
Language/s: Lucerne dialect of Swiss German, High German
 
Lugano
Lugano is the biggest city in Ticino, the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. However, it is not the cantonal capital. (The capital is Bellinzona).
It lies on Lake Lugano, and is surrounded by mountains, including Monte Brè, Monte San Salvatore and the Sighignola. The Italian border lies about 8 km (5 miles) from the centre of town – the suburb of Gandria, now officially part of the city, stretches right up to the frontier.
In 2003 Lugano merged with its suburbs, creating the much enlarged city of Nuova Lugano. It is now the 8th biggest Swiss city in terms of surface area; it was previously 61st.
Thanks to its surrounding mountains and the lake, and the fact that its situation south of the Alps gives it a milder climate than most of Switzerland, Lugano is a popular holiday destination, and tourism is an important source of income.
The city is Switzerland's third biggest financial centre. All the major Swiss banks, as well as a number of private international banks have offices there. Commerce also plays an important role in the city's economy.
Lugano is the main base for the Università della Svizzera Italiana (the University of Italian-speaking Switzerland), founded in 1996, which also has close links with universities in northern Italy.
It has a small airport at Agno, flying mainly to other Swiss airports. However, a privately run shuttle bus service links it to Milan's international Malpensa airport. Lugano lies on the railway linking northern Switzerland with Italy via the Gotthard. Locally, funicular railways run from the city to nearby Monte San Salvatore and Monte Brè, and another links the station to the lakeside.
Lugano's close links with northern Italy are a reflection of Ticino's membership of the Insubrica euroregion, established in 1995, whose other members are the Italian provinces on the other side of the border.
Canton: Ticino
Area: 30.2 km2 (11.66 square miles)
Population (city): 49,223 (2005)
Population (agglomeration): 120,800 (census 2000)
Height above sea level: 273 m (896 ft)
Language: Italian
 
 

                                                                                    (Source: www.swissworld.org)

 

 

 

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