The Old Town of Bern is located on a peninsula of the river Aare . This Old city has so many features as, Switzerland’s tallest cathedral, bridges, churches, old buildings, and Renaissance fountains, stand as a fine example of Swiss architecture. In 1983, UNESCO recognized the Old City and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of a picturesque and beautifully preserved example of a medieval town and how the Swiss blended the old and the new and have been tagged as Swiss Cultural Properties of National Significance. The city of Berne, capital of the Swiss Confederation, was founded in 1191 by Duke Berchtold the Fifth of Zähringen as a military post, on a narrow hill surrounded on three sides by the Aare River, a protected river peninsula and fortified the city with a moat, a circular wall and a defense tower. In those days the river served as a natural defence against invaders.
Most of the wooden buildings were destroyed by fire in 1405, and the city was rebuilt with sandstone buildings. The defense tower, which was all of a sudden located in the middle of the city, was re-built as a clock tower and from that time onwards was called the “Zytglogge” (time clock). This is where the Old Town begins.
Although mostly renewed in the 18th century, the medieval structure of the city Berne originating from that time, like facades and city layout, as well as six kilometers of arcades and Renaissance fountains has remained unchanged up to the present day. Bern’s old city has retained its medieval character.
Bern is one of the world’s ten cities with the highest quality of life. In addition, Bern is the Federal capital of Switzerland and is the seat of the Federal Government, the Federal Assembly and of a large part of the Federal Administration. The Old City of Bern is characterized by its compact rows of houses, an impressive skyline, arcades, cellars, tours and fountains, not to mention its many government and administrative buildings. It offers Europe’s longest roofed-over shopping promenade.
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