Top Ten Swiss Attractions

Top Ten Swiss Attractions

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       Switzerland is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in western Europe, where it is bordered by Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Liechtenstein. Switzerland is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning an area of 41,285 square km (15,940 square mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 7.9 million people is concentrated mostly on the Plateau, where the largest cities are to be found. Among them are the two global cities and economic centers of Zurich and Geneva. The Swiss Confederation has a long history of neutrality, it has not been in a state of war internationally since 1815, and did not join the United Nations until 2002. It pursues, however, an active foreign policy and is frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world. Switzerland is also the birthplace of the Red Cross and home to a large number of international organizations, including the second largest UN office. On the European level, it is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association and is part of the Schengen Area, although it is notably not a member of the European Union, nor the European Economic Area. In nominal terms, Switzerland is one of the richest countries in the world by per capita gross domestic product, with a nominal per capita GDP of $75,835. In 2010, Switzerland had the highest wealth per adult of any country in the world (with $372,692 per person). Switzerland also has one of the world’s largest account balances as a percentage of GDP. Zurich and Geneva have respectively been ranked as the cities with the 2nd and 3rd highest quality of life in the world. In 2010 the World Economic Forum ranked Switzerland as the most competitive country in the world, while ranked by the European Union as Europe’s most innovative country by far. Switzerland comprises three main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French and Italian, to which the Romansh-speaking valleys are added. The Swiss, therefore, though predominantly German-speaking, do not form a nation in the sense of a common ethnic or linguistic identity. The strong sense of belonging to the country is founded on the common historical background, shared values (federalism, direct democracy, neutrality) and Alpine symbolism. The establishment of the Swiss Confederation is traditionally dated to August 1, 1291; Swiss National Day is celebrated on the anniversary.

  1. Zurich
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    Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich. While the municipality itself has approximately 390,000 inhabitants, the Zurich metropolitan area is an urbanized area of international importance constituted by a population of nearly 2 million inhabitants. Zurich is a mixed hub for railways, roads and air traffic. Both Zurich Airport and railway station are the largest and busiest in the country. Permanently settled for around 7,000 years, the history of Zurich goes back to its founding by the Romans, who, in 15 BC, called it Turicum. During the Middle Ages Zurich gained the independent and privileged status of imperial immediacy and, in 1519, was the place of origin and center of the Protestant Reformation in German-speaking Switzerland, led by Ulrich Zwingli. Zurich is a leading global city and among the world’s largest financial centers. The city is home to a large number of financial institutions and banking giants. Also, most of the research and development centers are concentrated in Zurich and the low rate of tax attracts overseas companies to set up their headquarters there. According to several surveys from 2006 to 2008, Zurich was named the city with the best quality of life in the world as well as the wealthiest city in Europe. An impressive number of museums and art galleries can be found in the city, including the Swiss National Museum and the Kunsthaus. Zurich also hosts one of the most important theatres in the German-speaking world.
    Links: Cities, Museums and Galleries, Top Ten Theatres, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zurich,
  2. Geneva
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    Geneva is the 2nd most-populous city in Switzerland (after Zürich) and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Situated where the Rhone exits Lake Geneva, it is the capital of the Republic and Canton of Geneva. While the municipality itself (downtown ville de Genève) has a population of 191,415 (2010), the canton of Geneva (République et Canton de Genève, which includes the city) has 464,677 residents (2011). Geneva is a global city, a financial center  and a worldwide center for diplomacy and the most important UN international co-operation center with New York thanks to the presence of numerous international organizations, including the headquarters of many of the agencies of the United Nations and the Red Cross. It is also the place where the Geneva Conventions were signed, which chiefly concern the treatment of wartime non-combatants and prisoners of war. Geneva has been described as the 3rd European financial center after London and Zurich, and the world’s 8th most important financial center by the Global Financial Centers Index, ahead of Frankfurt, and a 2009 survey by Mercer found Geneva to have the 3rd highest quality of life of any city in the world (narrowly outranked by Zürich). The city has been referred to as the world’s most compact metropolis and the “Peace Capital.” In 2009, Geneva was ranked as the 4th most expensive city in the world.
    Links: Cities, Castles, Lakes, Top Ten Fountains, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geneva,
  3. CERN
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    The European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, is an international organization whose purpose is to operate the world’s largest particle physics laboratory, which is situated in the northwest suburbs of Geneva on the Franco–Swiss border. Established in 1954, the organization has 20 European member states. The term CERN is also used to refer to the laboratory itself, which employs just under 2,400 full-time employees, as well as some 7,931 scientists and engineers representing 608 universities and research facilities and 113 nationalities. CERN’s main function is to provide the particle accelerators and other infrastructure needed for high-energy physics research. Numerous experiments have been constructed at CERN by international collaborations to make use of them. It is also the birthplace of the World Wide Web. The main site at Meyrin also has a large computer center containing very powerful data-processing facilities primarily for experimental data analysis and, because of the need to make them available to researchers elsewhere, has historically been a major wide area networking hub. The CERN sites, as an international facility, are officially under neither Swiss nor French jurisdiction. Member states’ contributions to CERN for the year 2008 totaled CHF 1 billion (approximately € 664 million).
    Links: Top Ten Modern Wonders, Science, Top 100 People, Top 100 Scientists, Top Ten Physicists, Top Ten LaboratoriesSculptures, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cern,
  4. Bern
    BernBern1Bern2Bern3Bern4Bern5Bern6Bern7Bern8Bern9Bern10Bern11Bern12Bern13
    The city of Bern or Berne is the Bundesstadt (federal city, de facto capital) of Switzerland. With a population of 133,920 (2010), it ranks as the 4th most populous city in Switzerland. The Bern agglomeration, which includes 43 municipalities, has a population of 349,000. Bern is also the capital of the Canton of Bern, the 2nd most populous of Switzerland’s cantons. The official language of Bern is German, but the main spoken language is the Alemannic dialect called Bernese German. Bern is ranked among the world’s top ten cities for the best quality of life (2010).
    Links: Cities, Top Ten Cities with the Highest Quality of Life, Sculptures, Top Ten Clock Towers, Top Ten Stained Glass Windows, Top Ten Domes, Top Ten Dome Interiors, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bern,
  5. Alps
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    The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west. The highest mountain in the Alps is Mont Blanc, at 4,810.45 m (15,782 ft.), on the Italian–French border. All the main peaks of the Alps can be found in the list of mountains of the Alps and list of Alpine peaks by prominence.
    Links: Top Ten Mountain Ranges, Top Ten Mountains, Top Ten Lodges, Top Ten Skiing Destinations, Top Ten Skiers, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alps,
  6. Rhaetian Railway
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    The Rhaetian Railway is a Swiss transport company, owning the largest network of all the private railways in Switzerland. The company operates most of the railways in the Swiss canton of Graubünden as the Swiss federal railway company SBB-CFF-FFS extend only a few kilometers over the cantonal border to the capital at Chur. Almost the entire network is in Graubünden, with one station at Tirano in Italy. The Rhaetian Railway serves a number of major tourist centers, including St. Moritz and Davos. One of the lines, the Berninabahn, crosses the Bernina Pass to the Italian border and on to Tirano, Lombardy, where there is a link to the Italian railways. On October 20, 2011 Google announced that the Albula-Bernina line would be the first rail line in the world to be photographed and put on Google Street View.
    Links: Top Ten Train Rides, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhaetian_Railway,
  7. Lugano and Monte San Giorgio
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           Lugano is a city of 54,667 inhabitants (2010) in the city proper and a total of over 145,000 people in the agglomeration/city region, in the south of Switzerland, in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino, which borders Italy. The city lies on Lake Lugano, and its warm summers and the fact that in recent years it has attracted an ever growing number of celebrities, entertainers and successful athletes have given it the nickname of the “Monte Carlo of Switzerland.” It is the 9th largest city of Switzerland by population and the largest Italian-speaking city outside of Italy. The origin of the name is possibly the Latin word Lucus, meaning wood or sacred wood, or Gaulish locovanno “lake dweller.” Monte San Giorgio is a wooded mountain (1,097 m above sea level) located in the south of canton Ticino in Switzerland. It is the single best known record of marine life in the Triassic period, and records important remains of life on land as well.
    Links: Lakes, Top Ten European Lakes, Top Ten Mountains, Top Ten European Mountains, Top Ten Fossils, Top Ten Skeletons, Top Ten Sea Creatures, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lugano,
  8. Lavaux
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           The Lavaux is a region in the canton of Vaud in Switzerland, in the district of Lavaux. Although there is some evidence that vines were grown in the area in Roman times, the actual vine terraces can be traced back to the 11th century, when Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries controlled the area. The Lavaux consist of 830 hectares of terraced vineyards that stretch for about 30 km along the south-facing northern shores of Lake Geneva. It benefits from a temperate climate, but the southern aspect of the terraces with the reflection of the sun in the lake and the stone walls gives a Mediterranean character to the region. The main wine grape variety grown here is the Chasselas.
    Links: Wine, Top Ten Wine Regions, Top 100 Wines, Top 100 Wineries, Top Ten Swiss Wines, Top Ten Swiss Wineries, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavaux,
  9. Lake Lucerne
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           Lake Lucerne, “Lake of the Four Forested Cantons,” is a lake in central Switzerland and the 4th largest in the country. The lake has a complicated shape, with bends and arms reaching from the city of Lucerne into the mountains. It has a total area of 114 square km (44 square mi), an elevation of 434 m (1,424 ft.), and a maximum depth of 214 m (702 ft.). Its volume is 11.8 km³. Much of the shoreline rises steeply into mountains up to 1,500 m above the lake, resulting in many picturesque views including those of Mount Rigi and Mount Pilatus. The Reuss River enters the lake at Flüelen (in the canton of Uri, the part called Urnersee) and exits at Lucerne. The lake also receives the Muota (at Brunnen) Engelberger Aa (at Buochs), the Sarner Aa (at Alpnachstad). It is possible to circumnavigate the lake by road, though the route is slow, twisted, and goes through tunnels part of the way. Dozens of steamers ply between the different towns on the lake. It is a popular tourist destination, both for native Swiss and foreigners, and there are many hotels and resorts along the shores. In addition, the meadow of the Rütli, traditional site of the founding of the Swiss Confederation, is on the southeast shore of the lake. A 35 km commemorative walkway, the Swiss Path, was built around the lake to celebrate the country’s 700th anniversary.
    Links: Top Ten Lake Lucerne Hotels, Lakes, Top Ten European Lakes, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Lucerne,
  10. Sanetsch Pass
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            Sanetsch Pass is a high mountain pass in Switzerland across the western Bernese Alps, connecting Gsteig in the canton of Berne and Sion in the canton of Valais. Although a road leads to the pass from Sion and goes further to the Lac de Sanetsch, it cannot be completely traversed by car. In the summer season the pass is accessible by PostBus and can also be traversed by cable car. The pass itself is located in Valais 4 km south of the border with Berne. It separates the massif of the Diablerets on the west from the massif of the Wildhorn on the east. The Sanetschhorn and the Arpelistock overlook the pass on the west and east side respectively. The Col du Sanetsch is a popular destination because of the view over the Pennine Alps and the nearby Tsanfleuron Glacier.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Col_du_Sanetsch,
  11. Engadin
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           The Engadin or Engadine is a long valley in the Swiss Alps located in the canton of Graubünden in southeast Switzerland. It follows the route of the Inn River from its headwaters at Maloja Pass running northeast until the Inn flows into Austria 100 km downstream. The Engadin is protected by high mountains on all sides and is famous for its sunny climate, beautiful landscapes and outdoor activities.
    Links: Top Ten Valleys, Castles, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engadin,
  12. The Matterhorn
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           The Matterhorn is a mountain in the Pennine Alps on the border between Switzerland and Italy. Its summit is 4,478 m (14,690 ft.) high, making it one of the highest peaks in the Alps. The four steep faces, rising above the surrounding glaciers, face the four compass points. The mountain overlooks the town of Zermatt in the canton of Valais to the north-east and Breuil-Cervinia in the Aosta Valley to the south. The Theodul Pass, located at the eastern base of the peak, is the lowest passage between its north and south side. The Matterhorn was one of the last great Alpine peaks to be climbed and its first ascent marked the end of the golden age of alpinism. It was made in 1865 by a party led by Edward Whymper and ended disastrously when four of its members fell to their deaths on the descent. The north face was not climbed until 1931, and is amongst the six great north faces of the Alps. The Matterhorn is one of the deadliest peaks in the Alps: from 1865, when it was first climbed, to 1995, 500 alpinists died on it. The Matterhorn has become an iconic emblem of the Swiss Alps and the Alps in general. Since the end of the 19th century, when railways were built, it attracted more and more visitors and climbers. Each summer a large number of mountaineers try to climb the Matterhorn via the northeast Hörnli ridge, the most popular route to the summit.
    Links: Mountains, Top Ten European Mountains, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matterhorn,
  13. Vallée de Joux
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           The Vallée de Joux is a valley of the Jura Mountains in the Swiss Canton of Vaud. Located 20 miles (50 km) north of Geneva and Lausanne, its mean elevation is over 3300 feet (1000 m). There are three lakes in the Vallée de Joux : the lac de Joux (around 6 miles (10 km) long), the lac Brenet and the lac Ter. The border with France is along the northern part of the valley. There are three main municipalities in the valley, Le Chenit, Le Lieu and L’Abbaye forming the district of La Vallée. These include ten villages, such as Le Sentier, Le Brassus and Le Pont. The Vallée de Joux is, along with Neuchâtel, the birthplace of Swiss horology and it is still the home of the most famous Swiss watch factories, like Audemars Piguet, Blancpain, Patek Philippe & Co., Vacheron Constantin, and Jaeger-LeCoultre.
    Links: Top 100 Watches, Top Ten Watch Manufacturers, Top Ten Audemars Piguet Watches, Top Ten Blancpain Watches, Top Ten Patek Phillippe & Co. Watches, Top Ten Vacheron Constantin Watches, Top Ten and Jaeger-LeCoultre Watches, Top Ten Valleys, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vall%C3%A9e_de_Joux,
  14. Abbey of Saint Gall
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           The Abbey of Saint Gall is a religious complex in the city of St. Gallen in present-day Switzerland. The Carolingian-era Abbey has existed since 719 and became an independent principality during the 13th century and was for many centuries one of the chief Benedictine abbeys in Europe. It was founded by Saint Othmar on the spot where Saint Gall had erected his hermitage. The library at the Abbey is one of the richest medieval libraries in the world.
    Links: Top Ten Abbies, Top Ten Libraries, Top Ten Ancient Libraries, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbey_of_Saint_Gall,
  15. Three Castles of Bellinzona
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           The Three Castles of Bellinzona are a group of fortification located around the town of Bellinzona in canton Ticino, Switzerland. The group is composed of Castelgrande, castle Montebello, castle Sasso Corbaro and fortified walls. The Castelgrande is located on a rocky peak overlooking the valley, with a series of fortified walls that protect the old city and connect to the Montebello. The third castle (Sasso Corbaro) is located on an isolated rocky promontory south-east of the other two.
    Links: Castles, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Castles_of_Bellinzona,
  16. Convent of Saint John
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    The Convent of Saint John is an ancient Benedictine monastery in Müstair village of Val Müstair, Switzerland, and, by reason of its exceptionally well-preserved heritage of Carolingian art.
    Links: Sculptures, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benedictine_Convent_of_Saint_John,
  17. Augusta Raurica
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           Augusta Raurica is a Roman archaeological site and an open-air museum in Switzerland. Located on the south bank of the Rhine River about 20 km east of Basel near the villages of Augst and Kaiseraugst, it is the oldest known Roman colony on the Rhine.
    Links: Top Ten Roman Architectural Works, Top Ten Mosaics, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augusta_Raurica,
  18. Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps
    Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps
           Prehistoric pile dwellings around the Alps is a series of prehistoric pile-dwelling (or stilt house) settlements in and around the Alps built from around 5,000 to 500 BC on the edges of lakes, rivers or wetlands. 111 sites, located in Austria (5 sites), France (11), Germany (18), Italy (19), Slovenia (2), and Switzerland (56), were added to UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 2011. Excavations, only conducted in some of the sites, have yielded evidence that provides insight into life in prehistoric times during the Neolithic and Bronze Age in Alpine Europe and the way communities interacted with their environment. As the nomination stated, the settlements are a unique group of exceptionally well-preserved and culturally rich archaeological sites, which constitute one of the most important sources for the study of early agrarian societies in the region.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prehistoric_pile_dwellings_around_the_Alps,
  19. Links: Top Ten Swiss Hotels, Top Ten Swiss Restaurants, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switzerland,

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