51 Facts About Bern: The Swiss City That Will Charm You | Kidadl


51 Facts About Bern: The Swiss City That Will Charm You

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Switzerland is a dream destination for many tourists.

One of its most popular locations is the city of Bern. Stepping into this city, you will be transported back to the Middle Ages.

Bern is a federal city, the de facto capital and political seat of Switzerland. Established in the 12th century, the history of this city has been instrumental in its development. The medieval architecture of this city gives you a glimpse of Swiss life in the past. Walking by the sandstone buildings, you can get lost admiring the Gothic architecture. Yet, Bern is not only about manufactured creations, as a large portion of the canton is heavily forested.

There are special natural reserves and gardens where you can check out the unique flora and fauna of the region. Not to mention, the crystal clear Aare river, which flows around this city, adds to the overall charm. Bern has given the world some of the most sought-after delicacies, like cheese and chocolate, apart from buildings and nature. Because of its irresistible charm, Bern continues to be a massively popular tourist attraction in Europe.

Expand your knowledge about this charming city with these 51 facts.

Facts About Bern

From being the beer capital of Switzerland to hosting the famous scientist Albert Einstein, here are some cool facts about this de facto capital city.

  • Bernese dialect is the official language spoken in the federal city. The main language spoken here is German.
  • Bern in German means 'bear'.
  • Switzerland has no official capital. Bern is considered the de facto capital city because it is the federal seat of the country.
  • Toblerone, one of the world's most famous chocolate brands, is manufactured entirely in Bern.
  • Bern is considered one of the greenest cities in Europe.
  • The oldest museum in the country is the Bern Museum of Fine Arts.
  • Swiss cheese, also known as Emmental cheese, originated in Bern.
  • Albert Einstein worked in the Swiss patent office.
  • Some of the world's most famous watch brands, like Rolex, Swatch, and so on, are headquartered in the canton of Bern.
  • The University of Bern created the solar sail that landed on the moon around 50 years back.
  • When roaming the Old Town, you will notice the array of colors. These colors were used to guide the illiterate soldiers from Napoleon's army.
  • Zytglogge or Bern's clock tower has served many roles, a military post, guard tower, and civic memorial.
  • 20-25% of the city of Bern's population are foreigners.
  • 54 Junkerngasse is Bern's own haunted house. Visitors have noted the building's shutters open around midnight on their own.
  • The first Bond girl, Ursula Andress, was from Bern.

Bern's History

With a history that is 800 years old, Bern has always been an important city. Here is a look at the historical milestones of this de facto capital of Switzerland.

  • Bern was founded in 1191 by Berthold V, the Duke of Zähringen, for strategic reasons.
  • The name of this defacto Swiss capital was given by the Duke of Zähringen. According to legend, the Duke named Bern based on his first hunting expedition where he captured a bear. In 1224, the bear first appeared in the oldest coat of arms.
  • In 1339, Bern fought for its independence against Burgundy's united nobility. This battle put an end to the rule of the nobility.
  • In 1353, Bern officially became a part of the Swiss Confederation.
  • A great fire broke out in 1405 and destroyed the old city.
  • After the fire, sandstone replaced wood when rebuilding the city. So, by the 16th and 17th centuries, most buildings were made of sandstone.
  • In 1527, the famous tourist attraction Zytglogge Clock Tower was built.
  • In 1798, the French invaded Bern.
  • Bern lost a lot of its land in the creation of Aargau and the Waadt in 1815 (when the new Switzerland was being created).
  • In 1848, the federal parliament of Switzerland chose the canton of Bern as the Swiss Confederation's capital city.
  • In 1874, the Universal Postal Union (UPU) was established in Bern. This is a special agency of the United Nations that manages the world's postal system.
  • In 1983, Bern's old city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Bern Geographical Facts

Bern is Switzerland's second-largest canton with regard to area and population. It is an ecologically rich region with natural reserves and water bodies, like lakes.

  • The city of Bern is located on the northwestern side of Switzerland.
  • The city extends from the mountains of Jura to the Alps.
  • Glaciers from the last ice age resulted in the formation of the canton of Bern.
  • The city's elevation ranges between 2,211 ft (674 m) and 1,578 ft (481 m) above sea level.
  • Aare, the longest river in Switzerland, flows through Bern.
  • Bern has three large lakes, Lake Brienz, Lake Thun, and Lake Biel.
  • The geographical area of Bern is estimated at around 19.9 sq mi (51.6 sq km).
  • About 32.8% of Bern's land area is forested.
  • The climate of Bern has been classified as an oceanic climate. This type of climate is characterized by comfortable summers and mild winters.
  • The city is warmest in July, while the coldest is in January.
  • On average, the temperature of this historic city ranges between 30.2°-95°F (35°-1°C).
Bern is considered one of the greenest cities in Europe

Bern's Tourist Attractions

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the town of Bern has attracted tourists from all around the world to experience its medieval character. Some of the architectural landmarks include Old Town, Einstein Museum, Bundeshaus, and more.

  • In 1983, Bern's Old Town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its traditional cobbled alleys and sandstone buildings.
  • One of the most iconic landmarks of Old Town is the Clock Tower or Zytglogge. This was built in the 13th century, and it does not only tell time but also plays music every hour.
  • You will have to climb 312 steps to reach the viewing deck of another landmark, Bern's Minister, for a panoramic view of the Old Town of Bern. This is the tallest church in Bern, with incredible Gothic architecture.
  • The Parliament Building is a symbol of Switzerland's democracy.
  • Immediately outside the Parliament Building is the Bundesplatz or Parliament Square, where people of all ages gather.
  • The Bern Animal and Bear Park is a must-visit attraction for nature lovers to experience both native and exotic fauna in Bern.
  • Another iconic attraction for naturalists is the Rose Garden. Not only will you see different varieties of roses but get a panoramic view of the Old Town and the Aare River.
  • At almost every corner of Bern, you will come across intricate works of art in the form of fountains.
  • Albert Einstein lived in Bern for two years and came up with the Theory of Relativity. The Einstein Museum or House allows tourists to see how the great inventor lived.
  • The Bern Historical Museum is where the city's history, archeology, ethnography, and more can be experienced.
  • Kafigturm or Prison Tower used to be a prison where criminals got arrested and interrogated.
  • The Aare River meanders through the three sides of Bern and is the best place to take a swim in its crystal clear waters.
  • When in Bern, you cannot miss a chance to visit its local mountain, The Gurten.
Written By
Moumita Dutta

<p>A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.</p>

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