Bern is the capital of Switzerland, and also the capital of the canton of the same name. As the seat of government, the city houses the federal ministries and a number of other federal institutions, including the National Bank. It is also the headquarters of the Universal Postal Union, one of the specialised agencies of the United Nations.
History; The city was founded in the 12th century on a tongue of land surrounded on three sides by the river Aare. However, the first settlements in the area go back to pre-Roman times. It grew rich as a trading centre, and subsequently became an aggressive political and military power, ruling over a number of subject territories. It was one of the leading members of the old Swiss Confederation. Although the French invasion of 1798 put an end to the system of rulers and subjects, Bern retained its leading position, and in 1848 was chosen as the permanent capital of the modern Swiss state.
Saturday, 11:35 a.m. My car is getting into Bern City.
Parking the car in the basement parking area and strolling in Old Town, Bern.
Church of St. Peter and Paul. This impressive church is located in the old city of Bern, just next to the town hall. The Town Hall, built 1406 – 1416 in late-Gothic style.
The Kramgasse (“Grocers Alley”) is one of the principal streets in the Old City of Bern, the medieval city center of Bern. It was the center of urban life in Bern until the 19th century. Today, it is a popular shopping street. Its length, slight curve and long line of Baroque façades combine to produce Bern’s most impressive streetscape.
The Kramgasse and its buildings are a heritage site of national significance and part of the UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Site that encompasses the Old City.
The Samson fountain is located in Street, Kramgasse and is one of the famous 16th century fountains in the old city.
The fountain was built in 1527 by Hans Gieng and in 1544 extended with an octagonal water basin. The statue represents the biblical hero Samson, dressed in Roman style, as he grabs a lion’s mouth in order to tear him. Samson was a popular symbol of power in the 16th century and was considered as the Biblical Hercules.
Samson is armed with the jawbone of a donkey and also carries the tools of a butcher. Possibly, this fountain was donated by the guild of butchers. Originally it was called Schalenbrunnen, since 1687 the butchers fountain until it received its present name in 1827.
The Einstein House is located in the center of the Old City at Kramgasse 49, just some 200 meters from the Clock Tower.
Albert Einstein rented the flat from 1903 to 1905 and lived there with his wife Mileva and son Hans Albert. The second-floor residence features furnishings from that time period as well as photos and texts presented in a modern exhibition system.
The third floor shows a film that gives an overview of Albert Einstein’s life.
The Zähringen Fountain (Bear in Armour – the city’s official symbol) on Kramgasse.
Clock Tower (ZytgloggeTower)
The tower is a landmark medieval tower in Bern. Built in the early 13th century, it has served the city as guard tower, prison, clock tower, centre of urban life and civic memorial. Despite the many redecorations and renovations it has undergone in its 800 years of existence, the Zytglogge is one of Bern’s most recognisable symbols and, with its 15th-century astronomical clock, a major tourist attraction. It is a heritage site of national significance, and part of the Old City of Bern, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site.
Ogre Fountain (Kindlifresserbrunnen, Child Eater Fountain)
The fountain was built in 1545–46 on the site of a 15th-century wooden fountain. Originally known as Plaza Fountain, the current name dates to 1666.
The statue is a seated giant or ogre swallowing a naked child. Several other children are visible in a sack at the figure’s feet. There are several interpretations of what the statue represents; including that it is a Jew with a pointed Jewish hat or the Greek god Chronos. However, the most likely explanation is that the statue represents a Fastnacht figure that scares disobedient children.
Musketeer Fountain (Schutzenbrunnen, Fountain of the Archer or Masketma )
The figure of the knight who put on the body to the armor. The bear at the feet sets up the musket. The origin of the name of the archer depends on the figure of this bear. The fountain was built in 1543 by Hans Gieng, he also built Samson Fountain in 1544.
PrisonTower and Anna-Seiler-Brunnen (Fountain)
From 1977 to 1979 both the interior and exterior of the PrisonTower underwent complete renovation. Since 1999 the PrisonTower has served as the seat of the Confederation’s political forum, regularly hosting exhibitions and events relating to political issues.
As the name PrisonTower suggests, this gate tower was originally constructed as a prison. It was Bern’s second city gate.
The fountain, located at the upper end of Marktgasse (Market Street) memorializes the founder of the first hospital in Bern. Anna Seiler is represented by a woman in a blue dress, pouring water into a small dish. She stands on a pillar brought from the Roman town of Aventicum (Avenches). On November 29, 1354 in her will she asked the city to help found a hospital in her house which today stands on Zeughausgasse in Bern. The hospital initially had 13 beds and 2 attendants and was to be ewiges Spita (an eternal hospital). When Anna died around 1360 the hospital was renamed the Seilerin Spital. In 1531 the hospital moved to the empty Dominican Order monastery St. Michaels Insel (St. Michael’s Island) and was then known as the Inselspital (Island Hospital), which still exists over 650 years after Anna Seiler founded it. The modern Inselspital has about 6,000 employees and treats about 220,000 individuals per year.
PrisonTower and Bӓrenplatz Bern
Passing the Bӓrenplatz and going to the Diet building (Bundeshaus).
The Federal Palace (Bӓrenplatz) is the name of the building in Bern in which the Swiss Federal Assembly (federal parliament) and the Federal Council are housed. It consists of a central parliament building and two wings (eastern and western) housing government departments and library.
View from the backside of the assembly hall
Concert Hall Casino (Kultur-Casino) Bern
This popular cultural casino with its distinctive hipped roof boasts a unique atmosphere. From 1909 onwards it has hosted numerous cultural events, including the Bern Symphony Orchestra.
The Moses fountain, located on Münsterplatz (Cathedral Plaza) was rebuilt in 1790–1791. The Louis XVI style basin was designed by Niklaus Sprüngli. The Moses figure dates from the 16th century. The statue represents Moses bringing the Ten Commandments to the Tribes of Israel. Moses is portrayed with two rays of light projecting from his head, which represent Exodus 34:29–35 which tells that after meeting with God the skin of Moses’ face became radiant. The twin rays of light come from one longstanding tradition that Moses instead grew horns.
Bern Bern Minster (Cathedral)
The Bern Minster (Berner Münster) is a Swiss Reformed cathedral (minster) in the old city of Bern. Built in the Gothic style, its construction started in 1421. Its tower, with a height of 100.6 m, was only completed in 1893. It is the tallest cathedral in Switzerland and is a Cultural Property of National Significance. The largest bell in the bell tower is also the largest bell in Switzerland. This enormous bell, weighing about 10 tons and 247 cm in diameter, was cast in 1611 and is still rung every day. It is possible to stand next to the bell when it is rung, but one has to cover their ears to avoid hearing damage.
The large 47 free-standing statues are replicas (the originals are in the Bern Histor Museum) and the 170 smaller statues are all original.
The interior is large, open and fairly empty. Nearly all the art and altars in the cathedral were removed in 1528 during the iconoclasm of the Protestant Reformation. The paintings and statues were dumped in what became the Cathedral Terrace, making the terrace a rich archeological site. The only major pieces of art that survived the iconoclasm inside the cathedral are the stained glass windows and the choir stalls.
Dance of Death stained glass window. Images of death claiming people from all walks of life were very common during the Black Plague in Europe.
The figures on the Münster window were done by Niklaus Manuel between 1516 and 1519.
The stained glass window in the Cathedral is an excellent example of this theme. The window shows death, in the form of a skeleton, claiming people from every station in life. The Dance of Death served to remind the viewer that death will happen to everyone regardless of station or wealth.
Justice Fountain (Gerchtigkeitsbrunen)
Built in 1543 by Hans Gieng, the fountain is topped with a representation of Justice. She stands with her eyes and ears bound, and the sword of truth in one hand and the scales in the other. On the pillar below her feet are four figures; the Pope, a Sultan, the Kaiser (Emperor) and the Schultheiß (Lord Mayor). This represents the power of Justice over the rulers and political systems of the day; Theocracy, Monarchy, Autocracy and the Republic.
The original Nydegg Castle was built around 1190 by Berchtold family as part of the city defenses. Following the second expansion, the castle was destroyed by the citizens of Bern in 1268. The castle was located about where the Choir of the church now stands, with the church tower resting on the southern corner of the donjon. From 1341 to 1346 a church with a small steeple was built on the ruins of the castle. Then, between 1480 and 1483 a tower was added to the church. The central nave was rebuilt in 1493 to 1504. In 1529, following the Reformation, the NydeggChurch was used as a warehouse for wood and grain. Later, in 1566, the church was again used for religious services and in 1721 was placed under the Münster.
Through in front of Nydegg church and heading for Bärengraben (Bear Pit)
Nydeggbrücke (Nydegg Bridge) and River Aare
The Nydeggbrücke (Nydegg Bridge) is a bridge in Bern which connects the eastern part of the old city to the new part. It crosses over the Aare River and is located very close to the Bärengraben (Bear Pit). It was built in parallel to the Untertorbrücke in 1840, which until then had been the only bridge crossing the Aare. The Nydeggbrücke is in total 190 meters long and took three years to build. It is a Swiss heritage site of national significance.