Bern, Switzerland

According to homosociety, Bern, French Berne [bεrn], Italian Berna, is the capital (federal city) of Switzerland, capital of the canton of Bern in the Swiss plateau; 540 m above sea level (at the train station), in and above the deeply cut Aare valley, with (2018) 133 900 residents fifth largest city in Switzerland (agglomeration 419 800 residents).

Seven larger and 14 smaller bridges connect the old town, which is located on a 40 m high spur in a loop of the river, with the newer parts of the city.

Bern is primarily an administrative city with the seat of federal authorities, foreign representations and international organizations (Universal Postal Union, International Organization for Migration – Bern, etc.) as well as an education, congress and cultural center with a university (founded in 1834), Bern University of Applied Sciences (with a university of the arts), educationalist University, Federal Archives, Swiss National Library. Popular museums are the Kunstmuseum, Kunsthalle, Zentrum Paul Klee (opening 2005), Einstein House, Historical, Natural History and Alpine Museum (nature and culture of the Swiss Alps) and others. Collections. Bern has a city theater and symphony orchestra; Botanical garden of the university, Dählhölzli zoo. The new construction of the former Wankdorf stadium “Stade de Suisse” Wankdorf Bern was opened in 2005.

The service sector (administration, education, health care, tourism) determines the economic life of the city. The manufacturing industry includes machine and apparatus construction, electrotechnical and electronic, chemical and pharmaceutical industry, printing and publishing, metal and food industry; Construction industry. Bern is an international transport hub for rail and road. Bern Airport is only used for regional air traffic.


The old town of Bern (UNESCO World Heritage Site) with its arbors, old fountains (including the justice, rifle fountains, Kindlifresserbrunnen) and towers (clock tower, the first west gate, in the core around 1219, later changed several times, changed to Baroque style in the 18th century, astronomical clock from 1530; Käfigturm, 1641–44 as a replacement for the gate tower from 1256) and with its stately baroque guild and town houses has retained its character to this day.

It is dominated by the minster, which was started by Matthäus Ensinger on the site of a 13th century church. It has three aisles, no transept and has a choir with a magnificent reticulated vault (1517, the 87 painted keystones adorned with figures) and some of the windows from the 15th century that have been preserved. The tower was not completed until 1893; the cathedral is characterized by a rich sculptural structure on the exterior, especially the main portal (with 234 figures) and the mayor’s gate.

The Heiliggeistkirche (1726–29) is considered the most beautiful Reformed Baroque church in Switzerland; the unique rectangular room is dominated by 14 columns, with ceiling stucco by J. A. Feuchtmayer. The oldest surviving church is the French (Dominican) Church (around 1270–85, renovated several times). The late Gothic town hall (1406–17, renewed 1940–42) was built as a secular counterpart to the minster on the north side of the old town. Uniform alleys were created in the 18th century after the city council issued appropriate regulations. The Hôtel de Musique was built in 1767 as a representative coffee house with a dance and concert hall.

After Bern was elevated to the status of a federal city (1848), the Federal Palace was built (west building 1852–57, east building 1888–92, dome building 1894–1902). At the same time, other neo-baroque and neo-Gothic representative buildings were built that shape the image of the city: Historical museum (1896; expansion in 2009 by the architecture office: mlzd), university (1903), city theater (1903). Examples of New Building, for example by the architects of Atelier 5 (including Kunstmuseum Bern, 1976–83), can be found on the edge of the old town; The Zentrum Paul Klee (the most comprehensive collection of the artist’s works) by R. Piano was built there (opened in 2005). In 2008, D. Libeskind’s designed Urban Entertainment Center Westside, an adventure and shopping center, opens.


Bern was founded in 1191 by Duke Berchtold V., the last Zähringer, founded after Nydegg Castle on the soil of the (Holy Roman) Empire; After the Duke’s death, Bern was an imperial city from 1218 (recognized imperial directness in 1274) and flourished quickly under the government of an aristocratic upper class that was able to successfully defend the guilds from having a say. In order to have support against the surrounding Burgundian and Austrian nobility, Bern allied itself with the federal towns of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden, won with their support at Laupen (1339) and concluded the Eternal League with the three towns in 1353 (member of the Confederation). The city gained dominion over the surrounding country (Bernese Oberland), conquered the Habsburg Aargau as far as the Reuss in 1415, and led the Confederation in the fight against in 1476/77 Charles the Bold of Burgundy and wrested Vaud from Savoy in 1536; The Reformation was introduced in 1528. In addition to Zurich, Bern achieved the leading position in the Confederation; the aristocratic constitution granted the city many privileges in the 17th and 18th centuries; the politics of the patriciate turned out to be absolutist (bloodily suppressed uprisings in 1653, 1723, 1749). Since the French occupation (1798–1803), Bern was the capital of the new canton of Bern, from 1815 (federal treaty) a suburb and from 1848 the capital (federal city) of Switzerland. The city and canton were given a democratic constitution in 1831 (the “Great Council” representing the people).

Bern, Switzerland