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Encyclopedia > Zurich, Switzerland
For other uses, see Zürich (disambiguation).
General view showing Grossmünster church.

Zürich IPA [ˈtsyːrɪç] (in English often Zurich, which is also the standard French form of the name) is the largest city in Switzerland (population 364,558 in 2002; as agglomeration 1,091,732) and capital of the canton of Zürich. The city is Switzerland's main commercial centre, and home to the country's largest airport. It is also home of the Cabaret Voltaire where the Dada movement began in 1916.

The origin of the name is most likely the Celtic word Turus, a corroborating reference to which was found on a tomb inscription dating from the Roman occupation in the 2nd century AD. The Roman name for the town was Turicum and in the local dialect it is called Züri IPA [ˈtsyrɪ].



[http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NewImages/images.php3?img_id=16500 Streets of central Zürich

Situated where the river Limmat leaves the Lake Zürich, surrounded by wooded hills. The river Sihl meets with the Limmat at the end of Platzspitz, which borders the Swiss National Museum (Landesmuseum).


Numerous lake side settlements from the Neolithic and Bronze age were found, like Zürich Pressehaus and Zürich Mozartstrasse.

In Roman times, Turicum was a tax collecting point for goods entering the imperial province of Raetia by river. The earliest record of the town's name is preserved on a tombstone found in the 18. century on Lindenhof, referring to the roman castle as STA(tio) TUR(i)CEN(sis).

A carolingian castle, built on the site of the roman castle by the grandson of Charlemagne, Louis the German, is mentioned in 835 ("in castro Turicino iuxta fluvium Lindemaci"). Louis also founded the Fraumünster abbey in 853 for his daughter Hildegard. He endowed the benedictine convent with the lands of Zürich, Uri, and the Albis forest, and granted the convent immunity, placing it under his direct authority.

In 1045, king Henry III granted the convent the rights to hold markets, collect tolls, and the coinage prerogative and thus effectively made the abbess the ruler of the city.

Zürich became reichsunmittelbar in 1218 with the extinction of the main line of the Zähringer family. Emperor Frederick II promoted the abbess of the Fraumünster to the rank of a duchess in 1234. The abbess assigned the mayor, and she frequently delegated the coinage prerogative to citizens of the city. However, the political power of the convent would slowly wane in the 14th century, beginning with the establishment of the Zunftordnung (guild laws) in 1336 by Rudolf Brun (d. 1360), who also became the first independent mayor, i.e. not assigned by the abbess.

The Codex Manesse, a major source of medieval German poetry, was written and illustrated in the early 14th century in Zürich.

Zürich joined the Swiss confederation (which at that point was a loose confederation of independent states) as the fifth member in 1351. Zürich was expelled from the confederation in 1440 due to a war with the other member states over the territory of Toggenburg (the Old Zürich War). Zürich was defeated in 1446, and re-admitted to the confederation in 1450.

Zwingli started the Swiss reformation at the time when he was the main preacher in Zürich. He lived there from 1518 until his death in 1531.


  • Grossmünster (great minster) (near Lake Zürich, in the old city), where Zwingli was pastor
  • Fraumünster (our lady's minster) first church built before 874; the Romanesque choir dates from 1250-70; Marc Chagall stained glass choir windows; (on the opposite side of the Limmat)
  • St. Peter (downstream of Fraumünster, in the old city); with the largest clock face in Europe
  • Lindenhof (linden court), near St. Peter; site of the Roman and medieval castle. View over river and old town.
  • Guild houses along the river (downstream Grossmünster)
  • Old town on both sides of the river
  • Bahnhofstrasse, Zürich (shopping avenue) starting at main train station
  • Landesmuseum (Swiss National Museum, directly opposite Zürich's main train station.)
  • Art Museum (Kunsthaus Zürich)
  • Zoological garden
  • Lake Zürich, running from Zürich to Rapperswil and linking with the Obersee
  • Üetliberg, at altitude 813 metres above sea level
Fraumünster church.
Fraumünster church.

Industry and Commerce

UBS, Credit Suisse and many private banks have their headquarters in Zürich, the commercial center of Switzerland. Zürich is the world's primary centre for offshore banking, mainly due to Swiss bank secrecy. The financial sector accounts for about one quarter of the city's economic activities. The Swiss Stock Exchange is also headquartered in Zürich (see also Swiss banking, Gnomes of Zurich).

Education and Research



Trams in Zurich

Zürich is a hub for rail, road and air traffic. It has several railway stations, including Zürich Main Station, Zürich Oerlikon, Zürich Stadelhofen, and Zürich Altstetten. The Cisalpino, InterCity Express and even the TGV high-speed trains stop in Zürich.

The A1, A3 and A4 motorways leave Zürich (the A1 heads west towards Bern and Geneva, east towards St. Gallen, and the A3 heads northwest towards Basel and southeast towards Sargans.)

Zürich has a major international airport at Kloten, less than 10 kilometres northeast of the city. There is also an airfield in Dübendorf, although it is not used for civil aviation.

Within Zürich and throughout the canton of Zürich, the ZVV network of public transport has traffic density rating among the highest worldwide.

Notable people

born or died in Zürich

famous residents:


Hotel Savoy Baur en Ville (Weblink (http://www.savoy-baurenville.ch))
Hotel Baur au Lac (Weblink (http://www.bauraulac.ch/))
Grand Hotel Dolder (Weblink (http://www.doldergrand.ch/))
Hotel Alden Splügenschloss (Weblink (http://www.alden.ch/))
Hotel Eden au Lac (Weblink (http://www.edenaulac.ch/))
Park Hyatt Zürich (Weblink (http://www.zurich.park.hyatt.com/))
Hotel Widder (Weblink (http://www.widderhotel.ch/))
Hotel Marriott (Weblink (http://www.marriotthotels.com/))
Hotel Ascot (Weblink (http://www.ascot.ch/))

see also Zürich Tourism (http://www.zuerich.com/hotel/hotelliste.php?lg=1&displayLanguage=en)

St. Peter church.

External links

  • Zürich Tourism (http://www.zuerich.com/index.php?&displayLanguage=en)
  • Stadt Zürich (http://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/), official site in German.
  • SWX Swiss Exchange (http://www.swx.com/index.html)

  Results from FactBites:
Zürich - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1199 words)
(German pronunciation IPA: [ˈtsyrɪç]; in English often Zurich, without the umlaut) is the largest city in Switzerland (population: 366,145 in 2004; population of urban area: 1,091,732) and capital of the canton of Zürich.
The city is Switzerland's main commercial centre and home to the country's largest airport.
Annual public art program each summer, sponsored by the Zurich City Association (the local equivalent of a chamber of commerce) with the cooperation of the city government.
Zurich Hotels. Cheap Hotels in Zurich, Switzerland with Online Booking. (1898 words)
Hotel Bristol Zurich is a 3 star hotel situated in the heart of bustling Zurich city; yet in one of the quieter areas of the city center.
The Zurich Marriott is located in the heart of the city on the bank of the river Limmat just three tenths mile from the fine shopping of the Bahnhofstrasse and five miles from city center and the main railway station.
The Park Inn Zurich Airport; Rumlang; Switzerland; is a 4 star hotel perfectly located in a luscious green and relaxing area; which is 2 minutes drive from the International Zurich Airport and 15 minutes from downtown Zurich.
  More results at FactBites »



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