Interesting facts about Geneva


Geneva is the second most populous city in Switzerland.

The city is situated at the south-western end of Lake Geneva, where the river Rhône flows out.

As of October 2019, the population of Geneva is about 200,000 people.

Geneva covers a total area of 16 square kilometers (6 square miles).

The city has average elevation of 375 meters (1,230 feet) above sea level.


About 500 BC Geneva was a fortified settlement of the Allobrogian Celts.

The Romans took it in 121 BC.

The Romans and the Helvetians used Geneva as a staging point in the campaign for Gaul in 58 BC.

Geneva quickly grew into an important trading town in the heart Europe during the Middle Ages.

In the Middle Ages, Geneva was ruled by a count under the Holy Roman Empire until the late 14th century, when it was granted a charter giving it a high degree of self-governance.

geneva history

It developed its unique character from the 16th century, when, as the center of the Calvinist Reformation, it became the “Protestant Rome.”

At the end of the Napoleonic Wars, on 1 June 1814, Geneva was admitted to the Swiss Confederation.

In 1907, the separation of Church and State was adopted.

Geneva flourished in the 19th and 20th centuries, becoming the seat of many international organizations. [Photo: League of Nations conference in 1926]

league of nations conference in 1926

After World War II, Geneva was chosen as the site for the headquarters of the League of Nations, the forerunner of the United Nations.

Today, Geneva is a global city, a financial center, and a worldwide center for diplomacy.

Lake Geneva is the main attraction in Geneva. It is one of the largest lakes in Western Europe. The lake covers an area of approximately 580 square kilometers (224 square miles), has a maximum length of 73 kilometers (45 miles), a maximum width of 14 kilometers (8.7 miles).

lake geneva

The Jet d’Eau is a large fountain. It is one of the city’s most famous landmarks, being featured on the city’s official tourism web site. Situated at the point where Lake Geneva empties into the Rhône, it is visible throughout the city and from the air, even when flying over Geneva at an altitude of 10 kilometers (33,000 ft). Five hundred liters (130 US gal) of water per second are jetted to an altitude of 140 meters (460 feet).

jet d'eau

St. Pierre Cathedral cathedral was built as a Roman Catholic cathedral, but became a Reformed Protestant Church of Geneva church during the Reformation. It is known as the adopted home church of John Calvin, one of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation. Inside the church is a wooden chair used by Calvin.

St Pierre Cathedral

In the heart of Geneva’s Old Town, near the Temple de Saint-Pierre, you’ll find the popular Place du Bourg-de-Four. Possibly the oldest square in the city, and certainly its most charming and atmospheric, it is on the site of the Roman forum and held an important market from the ninth century onward. In the 16th century, exiled Protestants found shelter and refuge here. Today, tourists and locals find refuge in its cafés and restaurants, many of which spill out onto the pavement in good weather. Along with an 18th-century fountain, a statue, Clementine by Heinz Schwarz, stands in the square.

Place du Bourg-de-Four

The Palace of Nations is the home of the United Nations Office at Geneva. It was built between 1929 and 1938 to serve as the headquarters of the League of Nations. It has served as the home of the United Nations Office at Geneva since 1946 when the Secretary-General of the United Nations signed a Headquarters Agreement with the Swiss authorities, although Switzerland did not become a member of the United Nations until 2002.

palace of nations

The CERN particle physics laboratory near Geneva is the world’s largest research centre. Physicists from around the world travel to CERN to research matter and explore the fundamental forces and materials that form the universe. In CERN, more than 100 meters (328 feet) below ground, is the accelerator that simulates the conditions occurring fractions of a second after the big bang.

cern accelerator

The Jardin Anglais is an urban park in Geneva, situated at the location of an ancient harbor and a wood. The park was created in 1855. Its winding paths, copses, rotundas, fresh grass, huddles of trees and monumental fountain are delightful. The old bandstand hosts many concerts in the evenings during the summer.

jardin anglais

L’horloge fleurie, or the flower clock, is an outdoor flower clock located on the western side of Jardin Anglais park. Around 6,500 flowering plants and shrubs are used for the clock face. The plants are changed as the seasons change. The clock was created in 1955 as a symbol of the city’s watchmakers, and a dedication to nature.

lhorloge fleurie

Broken Chair is a monumental sculpture in wood by the Swiss artist Daniel Berset, constructed by the carpenter Louis Genève. It is constructed of 5.5 tons of wood and is 12 metres (39 feet) high. It depicts a giant chair with a broken leg and stands across the street from the Palace of Nations, in Geneva. It symbolises opposition to land mines and cluster bombs, and acts as a reminder to politicians and others visiting Geneva.

broken chair

Geneva is the most populous city of Romandy, the French-speaking part of Switzerland.

The city has been referred to as the world’s most compact metropolis and the “Peace Capital.”

Geneva hosts the highest number of international organizations in the world.

In 2019, Geneva was ranked as the 5th most expensive city in the world.

Ice hockey is the most popular sport in Geneva.

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