Zürich or Zurich is the largest city of Switzerland and capital of the canton of Zürich.
Located in an Alpine setting at the northwestern end of Lake Zürich, it stretches out between two forested chains of hills, about 60 kilometers (40 miles) from the northern foothills of the Alps.
As of January 2019, the population of Zürich is about 400,000 people. The urban agglomeration has 1.3 million and the Zürich metropolitan area 1.8 million.
The city covers a total area of 88 square kilometers (34 square miles).
The city has average elevation of 408 meters (1,339 feet) above sea level. The highest point is 871 meters (2,858 feet) above sea level and the lowest point is meters 392 meters (1,286 feet) above sea level.
Two rivers, the Limmat and Sihl, run through the city. Zürich’s western and northeastern limitations are formed by the Albis mountains.
Permanently settled for over 2,000 years, Zürich was founded by the Romans, who, in 15 BC, called it Turicum.
Roman rule ended around 400 AD and nobody really has any idea what went on in Zurich for the next few centuries.
During the Middle Ages, Zürich gained the independent and privileged status of imperial immediacy and, in 1519, became a primary centre of the Protestant Reformation in Europe under the leadership of Huldrych Zwingli.
Zürich was accidentally bombed during World War II.
During World War II, Zürich banks took advantage of banking secrecy laws to help the Nazi Party launder gold and stolen valuables. It was not until the 1990s that the banks’ role during the war was made public. In 1998 the two largest Swiss banks, Credit Suisse Group and UBS AG, agreed to pay two billion Swiss francs to international Jewish organizations.
The country’s economic and cultural hub and one of Europe’s main financial and industrial capitals, it’s easy to forget that it’s also a delightful and fascinating place for tourists.
Its many attractions include dozens of museums, a well-preserved old town filled with medieval and Renaissance buildings, and enough art – both in and out of museums – to keep art-lovers happy for a week.
The highest concentration of clubs in Switzerland, one of the most famous shopping miles, and a plethora of cultural offerings. And all of this against a medieval background. Zurich Old Town is a cultural, social and historical melting pot.
The old town encompasses the area of the entire historical city before 1893. It is a neighborhood filled with historic charm, its narrow streets rising steeply on the east side of the river.
The Grossmünster is a Romanesque-style Protestant church in Zürich. It is one of the four major churches in the city. The core of the present building near the banks of the Limmat was constructed on the site of a Carolingian church, which was, according to legend, originally commissioned by Charlemagne. Construction of the present structure commenced around 1100 and it was inaugurated around 1220.
The Uetliberg is a mountain in the Swiss plateau, part of the Albis chain, rising to 871 meters (2,858 feet). The mountain offers a panoramic view of the entire city of Zürich and the Lake of Zurich, and lies on the boundary between the city of Zürich and the municipalities of Stallikon and Uitikon. The summit, known as Uto Kulm, is in Stallikon.
The focal point of Zürich, and a favorite playground for tourists and locals is the long Lake Zürich. The entire shore is lined with promenades and parks, where local residents catch the sun, jog, picnic, and swim in the lake. But the favorite way to enjoy the lake is on one of the many cruises from which you’ll see beautiful views to the Glarus Alps.
Zürich’s “Main Street” is the busy pedestrianized Bahnhofstrasse, stretching from the main train station (bahnhof) to the Bürkliplatz at the head of the lake. The 1,200-meter (3940-foot) street is one of the most attractive shopping streets in Europe, enlivened by fountains, public art, trees, and distinguished buildings.
The “green lungs” of the city include the vast forest areas of Adlisberg, Zürichberg, Käferberg, Hönggerberg and Uetliberg. Major parks are also located along the lakeshore, while smaller parks dot the city.
Public transport is extremely popular in Zürich, and its inhabitants use public transport in large numbers. About 70% of the visitors to the city use the tram or bus, and about half of the journeys within the municipality take place on public transport.
Zürich has, depending on the definition used, an oceanic climate with four distinct seasons.
The official language of Zürich is German, but the main spoken language is the local variant of the Alemannic Swiss German dialect, Zürich German.