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Bern Switzerland

Bern Switzerland (Known places)

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Tags: switzerland (45 pics)

The city of Bern or Berne (German: Bern, pronounced [ˈbɛrn] ( listen); French: Berne [bɛʀn]; Italian: Berna [ˈbɛrna]; Romansh: Berna [ˈbɛrnə]; Bernese German: Bärn [b̥æːrn]) is the Bundesstadt (federal city, de facto capital) of Switzerland, and, with 122,658 people, the fourth most populous city in Switzerland. The Bern agglomeration, which includes 43 municipalities, has a population of 343,600. Bern is also the capital of the Canton of Bern, the second most populous of Switzerland's cantons.

The official language of Bern is German. The spoken language is the Swiss German dialect Bernese German.

The historic center of Bern has been featured in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1983 (38 years ago), and Bern is among the world’s top ten cities for the best quality of life.

History

Duke Berchtold V of Zähringen founded the city on the River Aare in 1191 (830 years ago) and allegedly named it after a bear (Bär in German) he had killed. It was made an Imperial Free City by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II in 1218 (803 years ago) after Berthold died without an heir. In 1353 (668 years ago) Bern joined the young Swiss Confederation, becoming a leading member of the confederation. It invaded and conquered Aargau in 1415 (606 years ago) and Vaud in 1536 (485 years ago), as well as other smaller territories, thereby becoming the largest city-state north of the Alps. It was occupied by French troops in 1798 (223 years ago) during the French Revolutionary Wars, when it was stripped of parts of its territories. In 1831 (190 years ago) the city became the capital of the Canton of Bern and in 1848 (173 years ago) it additionally became the Swiss capital.

The city grew out towards the west of the boundaries of the peninsula formed by the river Aare. Initially, the Zytglogge tower marked the western boundary of the city from 1191 (830 years ago) until 1256 (765 years ago), when the Käfigturm took over this role until 1345 (676 years ago), which, in turn, was then succeeded by the Christoffelturm (located close to today's train station) until 1622 (399 years ago). During the time of the Thirty Years' War two new fortifications, the so-called big and small Schanze (entrenchment), were built to protect the whole area of the peninsula.

A number of congresses of the socialist First and Second Internationals were held in Berne, particularly during World War I when Switzerland was neutral. (See Berne International.)

Geography

Bern lies in the Swiss plateau within the Canton of Bern, somewhat west of the center of Switzerland and 20 km (12 mi) north of the Bernese Alps. The landscape around Bern was formed by glaciers in the last Ice Age. The two mountains closest to Bern are the Gurten with a height of 858 meters (2,815 ft) and the Bantiger with a height of 947 meters (3,107 ft). The site of the old observatory in Bern is the point of origin of the CH1903 coordinate system at 46°57′08.66″N 7°26′22.50″E / 46.9524056°N 7.4395833°E / 46.9524056; 7.4395833.

The city was originally built on a hilly peninsully surrounded by the river Aare but outgrew these natural boundaries in the 19th century. A number of bridges were built to allow the city to grow beyond the Aare.

Bern is built on very uneven ground. There are several dozens of meters in height difference from the quarters on the Aare (Matte, Marzili) to the higher ones (Kirchenfeld, Länggasse).

Bern has an area of 51.6 square kilometers (19.9 sq mi). Of this area, 20.2% is used for agricultural purposes, while 33.5% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 44.2% is settled (buildings or roads) and the remainder (2.1%) is non-productive (rivers or glaciers).


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