Zurich – A Declaration of Love
With the help of extremely beautiful pictures this excursion through the city on the river Limmat takes the reader to historical as well as cultural sites, to important buildings and into parks that invite you to tarry a while. Zurich – this varied virtual stroll through the town makes that clear – is more than just a financial centre and is always worth a journey.
Veteran citizens of Zürich are convinced of it: God, in all his kindness, must have been in a festive mood when he created Zürich and the magnificent landscape around the lake. But have you had a chance to take a leisurely stroll through the town? No? Well, come along with us, then, let’s discover the beautiful town on the River Limmat.
- Seebecken Zürich-Enge
Water: Zürich certainly also owes its incomparable quality of life to this element. Even seven,- or eightthousend years ago people seem to have realized that the lower part of the lake is an especially lovely spot. Here in the Enge Harbour, Stone Age farmers built their hut dwellings on pile foundations driven into the shores.
The lake: today it is the pièce de résistance of summer-time leisure pursuits. So anyone is fortunate who has managed to acquire one of the coveted berths for his sailing boat or motor yacht.
But even without a yacht or speedboat, the lake is a place where you can enjoy a wonderful stroll: here and there a public bath on the lake shore invites you to linger for a while.
Lingering and relaxing are also on the agenda at the Lindenhof.
And here, too, you are standing on ground that is steeped in history: down below in the Rennweg quarter are the remains of the Celtic town. An on the Lindenhof itself the town's history confronts us at the Roman Turicum citadel.
What the Statue of Liberty is for New York is for Zürich the venerable Grossmünster (Great Minster). Zürich's grey-helmeted landmark greets visitors and locals alike.
Have you ever climbed up the stairs of the Grossmünster's tower? Admittedly, climbing up all those steps is quite a feat. But then you can leave out your next visit to the fitness center. And the view from the Grossmünster, well, it beats any trendy fitness gym into a cocked hat.
Uetliberg, Fraumünster, the town hall, the unsurpassed view of the lower part of the lake, the snow-covered Alpine panorama – truly a sight that makes not only home-sick Zürich people feel weak at the knees.
Other church towers also greet us – such as the Predigerkirche in the Old Town. Tightly packed together: the houses in the former craftsmen's district. Nowadays, on a Friday evening huge crowds of people surge through the Niederdorf, one of the largest amusement areas in the town. But during the day as well, the crooked lanes have their charm: hat makers, specialised bookshops and antique businesses are waiting to be discovered, as are the remains of the former town wall.
Tradition is not only to be found in the Niederdorf. No, the most characteristic of all Zurich customs begins at the elegant Bahnhofstrasse. At the Sechseläuten, the spring festival of the guilds, one thing becomes especially obvious: the people of Zürich love their town, they are proud of it and its history as the economic metropolis of Switzerland.
Camels, greyhounds, the sturdy members of the blacksmiths' guild – they all present themselves proudly to the onlookers. At the Sechseläuten it becomes quite obvious: in Zürich people enjoy celebrating.
But the time from one Sechseläuten to the next always seems to last so awfully long. That's why the waiting period is shortened by putting up Christmas decorations in the Bahnhofstrasse. And even the Züri-tram seems to want to compete with the sea of lights, reflecting and replicating their brilliance.
Whether you're a long-standing citizen of Zürich or a tourist – one thing is certain: anyone who has ever seen the Bahnhofstrasse at Christmas will always have fond memories of its magic and allure.
Naturally the Bahnhofstrasse also has its appeal even during day-time and when deprived of its Christmas charm.
At the Paradeplatz tradition rates very highly. It is here that the venerable Kreditanstalt, founded by Alfred Escher, the renowned watch and clock shop Türler, the Baur en Ville hotel with its long tradition and the Sprüngli confectioner's shop meet up in their perfectly discreet and elegant way.
- Jewellrey & Watches
A little lower down the Bahnhofstrasse you will find shopwindows that make not only the ladies' hearts leap for joy. Clocks and watches, precious jewellery, sparkling diamonds, shimmering matt pearls – all waiting for well-heeled customers.
- Schwarzenbach Kolonialwaren
When a delicious aroma of coffee wafts along the right bank of the Limmat and through the Niederdorf, then all thoroughbred Zürich people know: Schwarzenbach's grocery store is just roasting one of its incomparable coffee blends. But Zürich gourmets know even more: at Schwarzenbach's there is not only exquisite coffee, but also dried fruits, exotic curry mixtures, exclusive risotto rice and, of course, the genuine and only spaghetti neri – which otherwise you only find in Venice.
And as if that were not enough, just opposite Schwarzenbach's the next temptation is awaiting you.
- Café Schober
Yes, that's right, here at the Café Schober they have the best Buttergipfels, a kind of butter croissant. And, of course, traditional baked goods such as spiced bread, which you dip into a Tschumpeli, a small glass of red wine.
Zürich has many charming things to offer, and not only for gourmets and epicures. Here at the Hadlaubstrasse there are delicacies for the eye and the soul: in the MoneyMuseum you can take in the treasures of the history of economics and money in appetising titbits. Precious gold and silver coins, a huge coining press, audio and video presentations await culture-vultures and those interested in the history of economics.
- New Bourse
Here everything revolves around money as well, but around contemporary and not so much historical money. Anyone interested in the history of economics will, of course, pay a visit to the new stock exchange, the SWX Swiss Exchange in the district of Selnau.
But enough of banks, brokers and billions! Zürich is not all about mammon! In a university town with two renowned colleges there's ample opportunity for food for the mind and scholarly dialogue, which goes on here in the atrium of the university.
But even souls who are hungry for education sometimes need to take time out for a while: switch off, lean back and be carried away into other realms by powerful-voiced soloists. That's something you can do here in the Opera House.
- Schiffbauhalle Zürich-West
Those who prefer a more urbane or more contemporary diet are sure to find like-minded people around the "Schiffbau" hall, the legendary Pfauen theatre's branch in West Zürich. Here things are really happening: experimental drama, clubs that don't open until midnight, parties, bars, cinemas – it's not only the Zürich kids who amuse themselves here, but also those who attach importance to being trendy and in.
- Züri Horn
In Zürich's parks things are considerably quieter – at least during the day.
If you're interested in modern sculpture, the right place to go to is the Zürihorn: from Henry Moore and Corbusier to Tinguely, here all the great names are brought together.
Feel like visiting the "longed-for land," the paradise in the middle of Zürich? Welcome to Patumbah-Park. Yes, that's right, the Malayan word "Patumbah" really does mean the "longed-for land" or paradise. And to whom do we owe this paradise on earth?
To the Zürich merchant Karl Fürchtegott Grob. As a partner in a tobacco plantation in Sumatra, Grob made big money in the 19th century. But like all exiles from Zürich, he was afflicted and plagued by homesickness. Back home, Grob built this exotic and colonial-style paradise palace. He was not to enjoy it for long, however: shortly after the villa and park were completed he died. His pietistically inclined daughters wanted to have nothing to do with filthy lucre – and it is to them we are indebted for making Patumbah-Park accessible to the public.
Here, too, things remind you of paradise. But here it's not just the eye that is pleased. No, your palate will be tickled, too. If you know anything more stylish than being pampered with culinary delights by the students of the college for hotel management on a summer's day in Belvoir-Park – well, you let us know...
If you enjoy rummaging around for things, take pleasure in curiosities and antiques, you're sure to find what you want at the Saturday flea market at the Burkli-Platz. From the toaster in the style of the fifties and a porcelain Mickey Mouse to art, junk and kitsch – here at the flea market you'll find everything the heart desires.
- Zürich Event
For a change, art shows its playful mood on a venerable façade. At the Zürifäscht, Zürich's town festival, the whole of down-town Switzerland swings –topping it all is the Grossmünster. Light artists, experts in firework displays, funfair activities – high spirits are ensured.
The Uetliberg: the Zürich highlight of a very special kind. No matter whether in summer or winter, Zürich's local mountain is well worth an excursion. And it's clear to everyone, whether natives of Zürich or not: on the day when dear God created Zürich he had the very best of intentions. Not to mention a whole lot of delightful ideas.