Welcome to Bern
Bern is the capital of Switzerland, a diverse and beautiful city! Bern is a medieval city founded in 1191, on and around the River Aare. Berne has quite a few attractions and historic sites, as well as an active cultural life. It is here that Albert Einstein worked, the Toblerone chocolate bar is made, and Emmental cheese, known as Swiss Cheese, reached out to the world.
Einstein House - www.einstein-bern.ch
This second floor flat is where Albert Einstein lived from 1903 to 1905, while working as a clerk in the patents office. Today, it is a small museum in his memory, restored in the style of the early 20th century. It was while living here that he developed the theory of relativity, working at his desk overlooking the busy streets and with a view of the Clock Tower. There are a number of photographs and documents that offer an insight into his life at this time.
The bear has been the symbol of the city since its founding in the 12th century, and since the 16th century, there has been a bear pit. The pit is just across the Nydeggbrucke Bridge and has been at this location since 1857. It is popular to buy some food here to give to the bears and see them catch it in their mouths. The bear pits remain one of the most visited sites in the city.
The Clock Tower
The city’s clock (Zytglogge) is probably the most famous attraction in the city. There is an astronomical clock that shows the day of the week, location of the planets and signs of the zodiac. Every hour, there is a stunning display with a mechanical puppet show. It begins with a song, and before long, there are jesters, bears, a bearded king and crows parading around the clock face. It is a good idea to arrive 5 minutes before the hour, as the show actually starts just before the hour strikes.
The construction of Berne Cathedral, the biggest ecclesiastical building in the country, began in the early 15th century, yet the spire was only finished in 1893. The design is late Gothic style, and two of the most interesting features are the carved choir stalls and stained glass windows. The views from the tower of the city and the surrounding mountains are stunning. The most impressive attraction here is The Last Judgement, made up of 234 small statues that depict scenes from the Last Judgement. The small sculptures are incredibly intricate in their design and the whole piece is a remarkable sight. This masterpiece dates to the 15th century, and can be found over the main entrance.
Berne is famous for its fountains, which are dotted around the city. Many of the most interesting ones are in the middle of Krammegasse. The fountains are all unique, and the water is drinkable at all of them, if you are thirsty. There is a Justice Fountain, a Musketeer Fountain and a Moses Fountain among others.
Houses of Parliament - www.bundeshaus.ch
The parliament building is located in Berne on Bundesplatz. The building is an imposing sight with a large square in front, where you can find a number of cafés. The building was completed in 1902, and stands out with its green domes. There are two chambers: the Ständerat to represent the cantons (constituencies) and the Naionalrat to represent the people.
Paul Klee Museum - www.paulkleezentrum.ch
Swiss painter Paul Klee was born in Berne, and the Paul Klee Museum opened here in 2005. Klee’s work was influenced by many different styles including cubism and surrealism. The museum is predominantly a presentation of his works, but there is also a large auditorium, children’s theatre, art restoration room and a café. The building itself is of interest to architecture enthusiasts.
This church which was built in the period from 1270 to 1285 is now the city's oldest church and was part of the Dominican Monastery founded in 1269. From 1623 church for French-speaking Protestants, after 1685 center for Huguenot refugees.
Stade de Suisse
The Stade de Suisse Wankdorf Bern is more than the home ground of Bern's tradition-rich Young Boys football club. Much more! It is a meeting point, shopping and business center, gourmet temple...
Originally the three upper floors were used to store grain while the cellar provided storage for barrels of wine from tithes and domaines. As the Granary (Kornhaus) was no longer serving its original purpose since the start of the 19th century and was by the end serving as a pub, it was, in 1983, turned into a festival venue.
In its long existence it has survived the Burgundian Wars, Reformation and Revolution. To this day it is the seat of the cantonal government, where the Bernese Cantonal Council convenes five times a year. Sessions of the cantonal governing bodies are never open to the public.
Visits & Excursions
Worth to do and visit:
… visit Bern's historical clock tower, a well-known landmark located in the nucleus of the city that dates back to the 12th century.
… in search of Einstein you should visit his house with the collections of several original documents and photos from Einstein's life and work.
… do not miss the wall paintings and statues from The Houses of Parliamentor Beudeshaus
… go and see the Issac Taylor house, built in 1792.
… enjoy the Toblerone chocolate bar and city's Emmental cheese, very popular for visitors.
… take a tour and see the old university, famous museums, theaters,11 magnificent fountains and arts galleries
… stroll along Wide Kramgasse - one of the most beautiful streets of Bern, where facades in the Baroque style make a perfect combination with fountains.
… go and see the bear pit (the bear is the symbol of the city and there has been a bear pit since the 16th century) – one of the most popular tourist attractions today
… enjoy the spectacular views of the high alpine region of the Valais and the Aletsch Glacier - the longest glacier in Europe.
… take a walk in the halls of the legendary, medieval Chateau de Chillon, located on the shores of Lake Geneva and made famous by Lord Byron in his poem "The Prisoner of Chillon."
… travel across four passes - four imposing mountain passes in Central Switzerland in one day, Grimsel - Nufenen - Gotthard – Susten
… take a unforgettable and varied 60-minute trip to the summit of the Brienz Rothorn (2350 meters above sea level).
… visit the Emmental Exhibition Cheese - an Emmental cheese is made at the modern manufacturing plant. The Emmental itself is a fabulous region with gently rolling hills, long branching-out ridges, charming valleys and steep rifts.
… allow yourself a few hours of relaxation in the Murtensee region.
… reach the Jungfraujoch, Europe's highest cableway station at 3,545 metres a.s.l.
… go to Gornergrat near Zermatt - (no more than three hours and two changes away from Bern). The panorama could hardly be more overwhelming!
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