Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a federal state in Central Europe. That country bordered in the north by Germany, in the north-east and east by Austria and Liechtenstein, in the south-east and south by Italy and in the west by France. The total area of the Switzerland covers 41,285 square kilometers and the distance from west to east is 350 kilometers, from north to south it is 250 kilometers.
Switzerland can be divided into four major regions: the Alps, the Pre-Alps, the Central Plateau and the Jura. About 38% of the land area is used for agriculture, 30% is with forest covered and over 25% of the national territory consists of mountains.
The Alps take along with the Alps about two-thirds of Switzerland one. The Gotthard area forms the center of the Alpine massif; here is also the most important transition from northern to southern Europe. The Rhone and the Rhine run like two deeply dug furrows across the Alpine massif, which has been a much-used way to cross the mountains for many centuries. In addition to the rivers, the Alpine landscape was shaped by huge glaciers from the Ice Age, which created deep valleys and formed ridges and ridges of moraines and rock debris at the edges.
Over 30 mountains in the country alone reach a height of over 4,000 meters. The highest peaks are in the Valais, the Bernese Oberland and the Bernina massif. At 4,634 meters, the highest mountain in Switzerland is the Dufourspitze in the Monte Rosa massif.
The foothills of the Alps are less spectacular and amount to about 700 to 1,000 meters in height. This region, which lies between the high Alps and the Central Plateau, is mainly used as pastureland and as a recreational area for the cities.
Contrary to its name, the Mittelland is not consistently flat, but is characterized by continuous river valleys and glacial moraines. This area stretches between the Jura and the Alps from Lake Geneva to Lake Constance and thanks to its fertile soil it is used intensively for agriculture. Lakes, meadows, fields as well as larger and smaller forests alternate again and again in a varied landscape in the Central Plateau. Only in the area of the three Jura lakes is this region actually a plain that is used for growing vegetables.
In addition to the Pre-Alps, the Jura is the second lower mountain range of the country. It separates Switzerland from France and Germany and joins the French Prealps near Geneva. The highest peaks of the Jura are on the Swiss side; Mont Tendre is at the top at 1,679 meters, followed by La Dôle, Chasseron and Chasseral, each over 1,500 meters high. Behind it extend the flatter Jura chains, which drop to plateaus 1,000 meters high.
The two most important rivers in Switzerland, the Rhine and the Rhone both arise in the Gotthard massif and are among the longest rivers in Europe. The Rhine crosses the country over a distance of 375 kilometers, the Rhone over 264 kilometers. About 1,500 lakes formed as a result of the formation of glaciers during the Ice Age in Switzerland. The largest Swiss lake is Lake Geneva with an area of 580 square kilometers. It is followed by Lake Constance and Lake Maggiore, which only partially belong to Switzerland. Lake Neuchâtel, Lake Lucerne and Lake Zurich are located exclusively on Swiss territory.