11. Bern

#11 The Bernese Mittleland

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Bern

The city of Bern or Berne is the Capital of Switzerland, and, with a population of 137,919, is the fifth most populous city in Switzerland. The official language of Bern is (the Swiss variety of Standard) German, but the main spoken language is the Alemannic Swiss German dialect called Bernese German.

The structure of Bern’s city centre is largely medieval and has been recognised by UNESCO as a Cultural World Heritage Site. Perhaps its most famous sight is the Zytglogge (Bernese German for “Time Bell”), an elaborate medieval clock tower with moving puppets. It also has an impressive 15th century Gothic cathedral, the Münster, and a 15th-century town hall. Thanks to 6 kilometres (4 miles) of arcades, the old town boasts one of the longest covered shopping promenades in Europe.

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Since the 16th century, the city has had a bear pit, the Bärengraben, at the far end of the Nydeggbrücke to house its heraldic animals. The currently four bears are now kept in an open-air enclosure nearby, and two other young bears, a present by the Russian president, are kept in Dählhölzli zoo.

Areas to Visit in Bern are Albert Einstein house, he lived in a flat at the Kramgasse 49, the site of the Einsteinhaus, from 1903 to 1905,

The Rose Garden from which a scenic panoramic view of the medieval town centre can be enjoyed,

The eleven Renaissance allegorical statues on public fountains in the Old Town. Nearly all the 16th century fountains, except the Zähringer fountain which was created by Hans Hiltbrand, are the work of the Fribourg master Hans Gieng.

Bern’s most recent sight is the set of fountains in front of the Federal Palace. It was inaugurated on 1 August 2004.

Click here to learn more about Bern

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