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Zurich, Switzerland City Info
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Europe > Switzerland
Saint Moritz Zurich




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Zurich is divided by the Limmat River into the following two general areas:

West or Left Bank--This district is dominated by Bahnhofplatz, center of rail connections, and Bahnhofstrasse, which is the main commercial and banking thoroughfare.

East or Right Bank

Opposite Fraumünster, on the other side of the river, rises Grossmünster, on Grossmünsterplatz; its two Gothic towers are an east-bank landmark. The historic guildhalls of Zurich, such as the Zunfthaus zur Saffran, rise on the east bank of the river. So, too, does the Rathaus, the city's town hall, completed in 1698. On the east bank you can explore the eastern part of Altstadt (the old town), and stroll along Neumarkt, one of the best preserved of the old streets.

 

Altstadt (Old Town)

Tram 4,6,7,15

Both sides of the Limmat River.

Zurich's Old Town is one of Europe's great old quarters. Houses and squares here date back to the 13th Century. Delightful shops & restaurants abound.

 

Bahnhofstrasse

Called the "most beautiful shopping street in the world". Begins opposite Zurich's Central Station and continues to the Lake.

 

Stiftung Sammlung E. G. Bührle (Foundation E. G. Bührle Collection)

Zollikerstrasse 172

01/4220086

Admission charged.

Take Tram 11 from Bellevueplatz, then Bus 77 from Hegibachplatz.

Tues., Fri., and Sun. 2-5, Wed. 5-8.

One of Switzerland's best private art collections is owned by the E. G. Bührle Foundation. Though it's known especially for its Impressionist and post-Impressionist works, the collection also includes Spanish and Italian paintings from the 16th to 18th centuries. There is a limited but very special section of 24 religious sculptures from the Middle Ages.

 

Friedhof Fluntern (Fluntern Cemetery)

Zurichberg district

James Joyce, the author of Ulysses, lived in Zurich from 1915 to 1919, at Universitatsstrasse 38. In 1941 he returned to Zurich from Paris, only a month before his death. Near his tomb is a statue depicting the great Irish writer sitting cross-legged with a book in his hand. Elias Canetti, winner of the Nobel Prize for literat ure in 1981, died in August 1994; his grave lies to the left of Joyce's. The grave of Johanna Spiri (1827-1901), who wrote the famous story Heidi, is in the Central Cemetery.

 

Fraumünster (Church of Our Lady)

Stadthausquai.

May-Sept., Mon.-Sat. 9-6; Oct., Mon.-Sat. 10-5; Nov.-Feb., Mon.-Sat. 10-4; Mar.-Apr., Mon.-Sat. 10-5.

The delicate Fraumünster church spires are Zürich's signature. Its Romanesque choir is a peaceful spot for meditation beneath the ocher, sapphire, and ruby glow of stained glass windows designed by the Russian-born Marc Chagall, who loved Zürich. Augusto Giacometti, executed the fine painted window in the north transept.

 

Grossmünster

Grossmünsterplatz

01/252-59-49

This Romanesque and Gothic cathedral was, according to legend, founded by Charlemagne, whose horse bowed down on the spot marking the graves of three early Christian martyrs. Despite the legend, construction actually began in 1090 and additions were made until the early 14th century. The choir contains stained glass windows completed in 1932 by Augusto Giacometti. In the crypt is a weather-beaten, 15th-century statue of Charlemagne, a copy of which crowns the south tower.

The cathedral was once the parish church of Huldrych Zwingli, one of the great leaders of the Reformation. He urged priests to take wives (he himself had married) and attacked the "worship of images" and the Roman sacrament of Mass. In 1531, Zwingli was killed in a religious war at Kappel. The site of his execution is marked with an inscription: "They may kill the body but not the soul." In accordance with Zwingli's beliefs, Zurich's Grossmunster is austere, stripped of the heavy ornamentation found in the cathedrals of Italy. The view from the towers is impressive.

 

Kunsthaus Zurich (Fine Arts Museum)

Heimplatz 1

01 251 67 65

Tue-Thu 10-21 Fri-Sun 10-17

Mon closed

Paintings, sculpture and drawings, predominantly 19th and 20th centuries.One of the most important art museums in Europe, the Zurich Kunsthaus is devoted mainly to the 19th and 20th centuries, although the range of paintings and sculpture dates back to antiquity. The museum was founded in Victorian times and was renovated in 1976. It is one of the most modern and sophisticated museums in the world, both in its lighting and its display of art.

 

Schweizerisches Landesmuseum (Swiss National Museum)

Museumsstrasse 2

01 218 65 11

Tue-Sun 10.30-17 Mon closed

Museum of Swiss culture, art and history. This museum offers an epic survey of the culture and history of the Swiss people. Its collection, housed in a 19th-century building behind the Zurich Hauptbahnhof, contains works of religious art, including 16th-century stained glass from Tanikon Convent and frescoes from the church of Mustair. Some of the Carolingian art dates back to the 9th century. The altarpieces are carved, painted, and gilded.

The prehistoric section is also exceptional. Some of the artifacts are from the 4th millennium B.C.. A display of weapons and armor shows the methods of Swiss warfare from 800 to 1800. There's also an exhibit tracing Swiss clockmaking from the 16th to the 18th centuries.

 

Mühlerama

Seefeldstrasse 231

01 422 76 60

Tue-Sat 14-17 Sun 13.30-18

Working mill from 1913; exhibition of mills and the miller's craft, grain and bread, slide-show with commentary.

 

Museum Rietberg Zürich

Gablerstrasse 15

01 202 45 28

From the city center follow Seestrasse south about 13⁄4 km (1 mi) until you see signs for the museum; or take Tram 7 to the Rietberg Museum stop.

Tues.-Sun. 10-5. Mon closed

Many fine works of non-European art from India, China, Africa, Japan, and Southeast Asia are displayed in the neoclassical Villa Wesendonck, once home to Richard Wagner.

Gathered from the South Sea islands, the Near East, Asia, Africa, and pre-Columbian America, the rich collection ranges from Cambodian Khmer sculptures and jade Chinese tomb art to Japanese Nô masks and Tibetan bronzes. It was was assembled by Baron Eduard von der Heydt and donated to the city of Zurich in 1952.

 

Paläontologisches Museum

Karl Schmid-Strasse 4

01 634 38 38

Tue-Fri 9-17 Sat and Sun 10-16

Free admission

Aquatic dinosaurs and fishes from Monte San Giorgio, and other Swiss fossil finds

 

Rathaus (Town Hall)

Limmatquai 55

no phone.

Free. Tues., Thurs., and Fri.10-11:30.

Zürich's striking baroque town hall dates from 1694-98, and its interior remains as well preserved as its façade. There is a richly decorated stucco ceiling in the Banquet Hall and a fine ceramic stove in the government council room.

 

St. Peterskirche (St. Peter's Church)

St. Peterhofstatt

no phone.

Weekdays 8-6, Sat. 8-4.

Dating from the early 13th century, Zürich's oldest parish church has the largest clock face in Europe. A church has been on this site since the 9th century. The existing building has been considerably expanded over the years. The tower, for example, was extended in 1534, when the clock was added; the nave was rebuilt in 1705. Keep an eye out for inexpensive or even free classical concerts.

 

Schauhäuser der Stadtgärtnerei

Sackzelg 25-27

01 492 14 23

Daily 9-11.30, 13.30-16.30

Free admission

Tropical and sub-tropical plants

 

Sukkulenten-Sammlung

Mythenquai 88

01 201 45 54

Daily 9-11.20,

13.30-16.30

Free admission

Cacti and other succulents from all over the world

 

Urania Observatory

Uraniastrasse 9

01/211-65-23

The observatory is halfway between Bahnhofstrasse and the Limmat River on Uraniastrasse. Call in advance for hours (based on weather). The observatory has been at this site since 1907. Because of its central location, it offers a panoramic view not only of Zurich but of the lake and the distant Alps. You can see the stars, planets, and galaxy through a 20 ton Zeiss telescope.

 

Winterthur

Haldenstr. 95, Winterthur

052/2692740

Admission charged.

Tues.-Sun. 10-5.

Winterthur is a half hour from Zürich by train, on the main rail route to St. Gallen; fast trains depart daily from the main train station, about every half hour. From the train station, take Bus 10 to Haldengut or Bus 3 to Spital and follow the Römerholz sign up the hill. By car, follow the autobahn signs for Winterthur-St. Gallen. Take the Winterthur-Ohringen exit onto Schaffhauserstrasse into town, then left on Rychenbergstrasse to Haldenstrasse.

A wealth of fine art was donated to the textile town Winterthur by prosperous local merchants. One of these was Oskar Reinhart, whose splendid home on the hill overlooking the town now contains the huge Am Römerholz collection of paintings from five centuries, including works by Rembrandt, Manet, Renoir, and Cézanne.

 

Zoologisches Museum

Karl Schmid-strasse 4

01 634 38 38

Tue-Fri 9-17 Sat and Sun 10-16

Free admission

Swiss fauna from the ice age to the present day

 

Zoologischer Garten (Zoological Garden)

Zurichbergstrasse 221

01/254-25-00

Mar-Oct daily 8am-6pm; Nov-Feb daily 8am-5pm

Tram 6 from the Hauptbahnhof;

Admission charged

One of the best-known zoos in Europe, Zurich's Zoological Garden contains some 2,200 animals of about 260 species. It also has an aquarium and an open-air aviary. You can visit the Africa house, the ape house, and the terrariums, along with the elephant house and the giant tortoise house. There are special enclosures for red pandas, otters, and snow leopards, and a house for clouded leopards, tigers, Amur leopards, and Indian lions.


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