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|SCHWEIZ / SUISSE / SVIZZERA / SVIZRA||SWITZERLAND|
|Zürich / Zurich / Zurigo / Turitg|
Zürich is the largest city of Switzerland (362,500 inhabitants) and capital of the canton of the same name. The town developed on the northern end of the Zürichsee (Lake Zurich) on the banks of the rievr Limmat. The year 15 BC is taken as the 'birth' of Zurich when the Romans founded a border station called 'Turicum'on this place. In the Early and High Middle Ages Zürich was one of the Imperial residences. In 1351, the town joined the Swiss Confederation. The Reformation was introduced in 1519 by Huldrych Zwingli. During the 19th century Zürich became one of the most important financial and economical centres. Zürich has the world's fourth largest stock exchange and is the most important trading place for gold.
The Grossmünster [left, no.638: far left] is Zürich's most famous landmark. The church is believed to be of Carolingian origin. The construction began in 1039 and was not fully completed until the 14th century. Remains of the Romanesque cloister with important sculptures date back to the late 12th century. The earlier canonic educational institution of the Grossmünsterstift was replaced by the first school for girls in 1853. Today it houses the theological faculty of the University.
Right next to the river Limmat at the bridge Münsterbrücke, the open hall of the Helmhaus [left, no.638: centre left] originally served as a court and a canvas market. The name is derived from the old word 'helmen' which means 'to protect'. The building that we see today replaced an older building in 1794. Today, the Helmhaus houses a gallery for young artists.
Behind the Helmhaus on the bank of the Limmat, the Wasserkirche [left, no.638: centre] is believed to stand on the place of the burial place of St. Felix and St. Regula, the patron saints of Zürich. The Gothic church which we can see today was built between 1479 and 1484. Like most churches in Switzerland it was robbed of its original treasures during the Reformation.
The Fraumünster [left, no.638: far right] was the church of the noblewomen of Zürich. It was a gift of King Ludwig the German, grandson of Charlemagne, in AD 853 Hildegard, the daughter of Ludwig, became the first abbess. Only parts of the foundations of the building and the crypt of the old abbey remain from the original church. Today's church was begun in the 12th century. Paintings in the Gothic cloister show scenes from the legends of old Zürich. A series of stained glass windows designed by Marc Chagall was installed in the Romanesque choir in 1970.
The Swiss National Museum (Schweizerisches Landesmuseum) [right, no.1110] was built in 1898 in historistic style. The tower, designed after the town gate of Baden (canton Aargau), has become a landmark of Zurich. The museum houses the largest cultural-historical collection of Switzerland.