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|SCHWEIZ / SUISSE / SVIZZERA / SVIZRA||SWITZERLAND|
|Basel-Stadt / Bâle-Ville / Basilea città / Basilea-Citad|
Basel is situated at an altitude of 254 m on the river Rhine close to the borders to France and Germany. The earliest archeological finds of Celtic settlements in the area of Basel date from the 1st century BC. The Celtic settlement was replaced by a Roman oppidum around 2015 BC. The Roman town Augusta Raurica, about 12 km east of Basel, had already been founded in 44 BC, but was destroyed in 259/260 AD by Alemanic tribes. Although the Romans later built the town Castrum Rauracense (Kaiseraugst) near the former Augusta Raurica, the Roman Empire fell in 476 AD. It is now known whether at that time Basel was inhabited, but it was at least mentioned for the first time in 374 AD by Ammianus Marcellinus. The Alemanni were defeated by the Frankonians in 496 AD. Around 800 AD. Basel was mentioned as the seat of a bishop. After the division of the Karolingian empire, Basel became part of the Frankonian kingdom between 843 and 880 AD. When this kingdom was divided in 870/880, Basel became part of the Kingdom of Upper Burgundy. In 1033, the town became part of the Holy Roman Empire, where it remained until 1501, when it joined the Swiss Confederation. The university, the oldest of Switzerland, was founded in 1460. The famous humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam (14661536) lived here between 1521 and 1536. He is buried in the minster church. The tradition of Basel's trade fairs goes back to 1471. When Basel joined the Reformation, the Catholic bishops of Basel in 1527/1529 moved their seat to Porrentruy (Pruntrut) where they remained until 1828 when the seat of the diocese Basel was finally moved to Solothurn. The canton Basel was divided into the half cantons Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft in 1833.
The Rathaus (Town Hall) [left] goes back to a structure of the early 15th century. The old town hall was destroyed by an earthquake in 1356 and was rebuilt thereafter. This building was replaced by the present town hall which was built in 15041514. The two flanking towers were added in 1904.
In 1996 the city of Basel was awarded the Wakker Prize of the Swiss Heritage Society for the development and preservation of its architectural heritage. Other cities that have been awarded this prize and which are depicted on glasses of this collection are: Altdorf (2007), Bern (1997), Genève (2000), La Chaux-de-Fonds (2011), Lausanne West (Bussigny-près-Lausanne, Chavannes-près-Renens, Crissier, Ecublens, Lausanne, Prilly, Renens, Saint-Sulpice, Villars-Sainte-Croix) (2011), Montreux (1990), Sankt Gallen (1992), Solothurn (1980), Stein am Rhein (1972), Wil (1984).
The Mittlere Rheinbrücke (Middle Rhine Bridge) [near left]
is the oldest extant rhine bridge between Lake Constance and the river's end at the North See.
A first bridge had already been built in 1225, partly in wood, partly in stone. For a few years, this old bridge was the only bridge across the Rhine
between Lake Constance and the North Sea. It was frequently damaged by floods, so that it had to be repaired again.
Finaly, in 1899, it was decided to replace it with a new bridge. Its construction alsted from 1903 until 1905. It has a length of 192 metres and is made
of granite from the northern Gotthard massif. Six arches span the river, a seventh crosses the Rheinweg on the right bank, in Kleinbasel.
The bridge is counted as an important example of historistic architecture in Switzerland. Its architects were Emil Faesch from Basel and
Friedrich von Thiersch from Munich.