Zürich (, Zürich German: Züri [ˈtsyɾi], Zurich [zyʁik], Zurigo [dzuˈɾiːgo]; in English generally Zurich ) is the largest city in Switzerland and capital of the canton of Zürich. The city is Switzerland's main commercial and cultural centre and sometimes called the Cultural Capital of Switzerland, the political capital of Switzerland being Berne. Zürich can be counted as one of the world's preeminent global cities. According to several surveys from 2006 to 2008, Zürich was named the city with the best quality of life in the world.
The earliest known form of the city's name is Turicum
, attested on a tombstone
of the late 2nd century
CE in the form STA(tio) TURICEN(sis)
("Turicum tax post"). Neither the name's linguistic origin (most likely Rhaetic
) nor its meaning can be determined with certainty. A possibility is derivation from *Turīcon
, from the Gaulish personal name Tūros
A first development towards its later, Germanic form is attested as early as the 6th century CE with the form Ziurichi. From the 10th century onward, the name has more or less clearly been established as Zürich (Zurih (857), Zurich (924)). Note that in the modern Zürich dialect, the name has lost its final ch [x]. This is hypocoristic rather than the result of a regular sound change, and the adjective remains Zürcher ['tsyr.xer] also in dialect.
In Roman times, Turicum was a tax-collecting point at the border of Gallia Belgica (from AD 90 Germania superior) and Raetia for goods trafficked on the Limmat river.
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 right to hold markets, collect tolls, and mint coins, 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. A city wall was built during the 1230s, enclosing 38 hectares.
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 minting of coins to citizens of the city. However, the political power of the convent slowly waned in the 14th century, beginning with the establishment of the Zunftordnung (guild laws) in 1336 by Rudolf Brun, who also became the first independent mayor, i.e. not assigned by the abbess.
The famous illuminated manuscript known as The Manesse Codex, now in Heidelberg - described as "the most beautifully illumined German manuscript in centuries; - was commissioned by the Manesse family of Zürich, copied and illustrated in the city at some time between 1304 and 1340. Producing such a work was a highly expensive prestige project, requiring several years work by highly skilled scribes and miniature painters, and it clearly testifies to the increasing wealth and pride of Zürich citizens in this period.
Zürich joined the Swiss confederation (which at that time was a loose confederation of de facto independent states) as the fifth member in 1351 but was expelled 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 1484 until his death in 1531.
In 1839 , the city had to yield to the demands of its urban subjects, following the Züriputsch of 6 September. Most of the ramparts built in the 17th century were torn down, without ever having been besieged, to allay rural concerns over the city's hegemony. The Treaty of Zurich between Austria, France, and Sardinia was signed in 1859.
From 1847 , the Spanisch-Brötli-Bahn, the first railway on Swiss territory, connected Zürich with Baden, putting the Zürich Main Station at the origin of the Swiss rail network. The present building of the Hauptbahnhof (main railway station) dates to 1871.
Zürich was accidentally bombed during World War II.
Coat of arms
The blue and white coat of arms of Zürich is attested from 1389, and was derived from banners with blue and white stripes in use since 1315 . The first certain testimony of banners with the same design is from 1434. The coat of arms is flanked by two lions.
The red Schwenkel on top of the banner had varying interpretations: For the people of Zürich, it was a mark of honour, granted by Rudolph I. Zürich's neighbors mocked it as a sign of shame, commemorating the loss of the banner at Winterthur in 1292.
Today, the Canton of Zürich uses the same coat of arms as the city.
The city is situated where the river Limmat issues from the north-western end of Lake Zürich (Zürichsee), about 30 km north of the Alps. Zürich is surrounded by wooded hills including (from the north) the Gubrist, the Hönggerberg, the Käferberg, the Zürichberg, the Adlisberg and the Oettlisberg on the eastern shore; and the Uetliberg (part of the Albis range) on the western shore. The river Sihl meets with the Limmat at the end of Platzspitz, which borders the Swiss National Museum (Landesmuseum). The geographic (and historic) center of the city is the Lindenhof, a small natural hill on the west bank of the Limmat, about 700 meters north of where the river issues from Lake Zürich. Today the incorporated city stretches somewhat beyond the natural hydrographic confines of the hills and includes some neighborhoods to the northeast in the Glattal (valley of the river Glatt).
The previous boundaries of the city of Zürich (before 1893) were more or less synonymous with the location of the old town. Two large expansions of the city limits occurred in 1893 and in 1934 when the city of Zürich merged with many surrounding municipalities, that had been growing increasingly together since the 19th century. Today, the city is divided into twelve districts (known as Kreis in German), numbered 1 to 12, each one of which may contain anywhere between 1 and 4 neighborhoods:
- District 1, known as Altstadt, contains the old town, both to the east and west of the start of the Limmat river.
- District 2 lies along the west side of Lake Zurich, and contains the neighborhoods of Enge, Wollishofen and Leimbach.
- District 3, known as Wiedikon is between the Sihl river and the Uetliberg, and contains the neighborhoods of Alt-Wiedikon, Sihlfeld and Friesenberg.
- District 4, known as Aussersihl lies between the Sihl and the train tracks leaving Zürich Main Station.
- District 5, known as Industriequartier, is between the Limmat and the train tracks leaving Zürich Main Station, it contains the former industrial area of Zürich.
- District 6 is on the edge of the Zürichberg, a hill overlooking the eastern part of the city. District 6 contains the neighborhoods of Oberstrass and Unterstrass.
- District 7 is on the edge of the Adlisberg hill as well as the Zürichberg, on the eastern side of the city. District 7 contains the neighborhoods of Hottingen and Hirslanden.
- District 8, known as Riesbach, lies on the eastern side of Lake Zurich.
- District 9 is between the Limmat to the north and the Uetliberg to the south. It contains the neighborhoods Altstetten and Albisrieden.
- District 10 is to the east of the Limmat and to the south of the Hönggerberg and Käferberg hills. District 10 contains the neighborhoods of Höngg and Wipkingen.
- District 11 is in the area north of the Hönggerberg and Käferberg and between the Glatt valley and the Katzensee (Katzen Lake). It contains the neighborhoods of Affoltern, Oerlikon and Seebach.
- District 12, known as Schwamendingen, is located in the Glattal (Glatt valley) on the northern side of the Zürichberg.
Most of the district boundaries are fairly similar to the original boundaries of the previously existing municipalities before they were incorporated into the city of Zürich.
Zürich is a mixed hub for railways, roads, and air traffic. It has several railway stations, including Zürich Hauptbahnhof (main station), Oerlikon, Stadelhofen, Hardbrücke, Tiefenbrunnen, Enge, Wiedikon and Altstetten. The Cisalpino, InterCityExpress, and even the French TGV high-speed trains stop in Zürich.
The A1, A3 and A4 motorways pass close to Zürich. The A1 heads west towards Berne and Geneva and eastwards towards St. Gallen; the A4 leads northwards to Schaffhausen; and the A3 heads northwest towards Basel and southeast along Lake Zurich and Lake Walen towards Sargans.
Zürich International Airport is located less than 10 kilometres northeast of the city in Kloten. There is also an airfield in Dübendorf, although it is only used for military aviation.
Within Zürich and throughout the canton of Zürich, the ZVV network of public transport has traffic density ratings among the highest worldwide. If you add frequency, which in Zürich can be as often as 7 minutes, it does become the densest across all dimensions. Three means of mass-transit exist: the S-Bahn (local trains), trams, and buses (both diesel and electric, also called trolley buses).
In addition the public transport network includes boats on the lake and river, funicular railways and even a cable car between Adliswil and Felsenegg. Tickets purchased for a trip are valid on all means of public transportation (train, tram, bus, boat).
There are officially 376,815 people living in Zürich (as of the 4th quarter of 2007), making it Switzerland's largest city. 30.6% of registered inhabitants do not hold Swiss citizenship, which is 115,379 people. Of these, German citizens make up the largest group with 22.0%, followed by Italians. The population of the city proper including suburbs totals 1.08 million people. However, the entire metropolitan area (including the cities of Winterthur, Baden, Brugg, Schaffhausen, Frauenfeld, Uster/Wetzikon, Rapperswil-Jona and Zug) has a population of around 1.68 million people.
The official language used by the government and in most publications is German
, while the most commonly spoken dialect in Zürich is Zürich German
), which is a local dialect of Swiss German
. As of 2000, German is the mother-tongue of 77.7% of the population. Italian
follows behind at 4.7% of the population. Other native languages spoken by more than 1% of the population include South Slavic languages
(2.2%) — this includes Serbian
, and Slovenian
Since the reformation led by Huldrych Zwingli
, Zürich has remained the center and stronghold of Protestantism
. In the course of the 20th century, this has changed as Catholics
now make up the largest religious group in the city, with 33.3%. An increasing number of inhabitants has declared themselves as being without religion (this was 16.8% of the population in 2000).
The level of unemployment in Zürich is 2.6% (August 2007). About 4% of the city population (15,500 people) live either directly or indirectly on welfare from the state (April 2005).
During 2004 the Fraumünster was fully renovated. During this period the installed scaffolding went above the tip of the tower allowing a unique and exceptional 360° panoramic view of Zürich.
- Museum Bärengasse, history of the city in the 17th century
- Kunsthaus Zürich, one of the largest collections in Classic Modern Art in the world (Munch, Picasso, Braque, Giacometti, etc.)
- Museum Rietberg, Arts of Asia, Africa, America and Oceania
- Museum Bellerive, Museum for fashion, architecture and design , located in a villa on the beach of the lake
- Kunsthalle Zürich
- Migros Museum, modern and avantgarde international Art.
- Museum of Design Zürich
- Swiss National Museum (Landesmuseum) , located in the Platzspitz park opposite to the main station
- Johann Jacobs Museum, history of colonial Fine Food and coffee
- Johanna Spyri Museum
- Haus Konstruktiv , constructive, concrete and conceptual art and design
- NONAM North American Native Museum
- Museum of the History of Medicine
- Uhrenmuseum Beyer, a museum documenting the history of timekeeping and timekeepers, located on Bahnhofstrasse 31
- Lindenhof near St. Peter; site of the Roman and medieval castle.
- Guild houses along the river (downstream from the Grossmünster)
- Old town (Altstadt), District 1, on both sides of the river
- Bahnhofstrasse, Zürich (shopping avenue) starting at main train station
- Parade-Platz, Plaza in the middle of Bahnhofstrasse, Zürich, a center of financial activity, with the world-headquarters of several Swiss banks including UBS and Credit Suisse.
- Zoological garden
- Masoala Rainforest Ecosystem Great Glass Hall in the Zoological garden with trees, flowers and animals in liberty from the rainforest of Masoala National Park in Madagascar
- Botanical Garden of the University of Zürich
- Chinese Garden, Zürich
- Neu Oerlikon, part of City District Oerlikon: northern quarter of the city - Oerliker Park, MFO Park, Center-11 Building, Price Waterhouse Building, ABB Building, UBS Building, and other modern public spaces.
- Lake Zürich, running from Zürich to Rapperswil and linking with the Obersee
- Uetliberg, a hill with a great view over the city. Located to the west of the city at an altitude of 813 meters above sea level
- Fluntern Cemetery
- Cabaret Voltaire, birthplace of Dada
- Sihlcity, opened in March 2007 and built on the foundations of the former Sihl Paper Factory. Among other things it includes a shopping center and a movie theater.
Business, industry and commerce
Zürich is a leading financial center, and often considered a global city. UBS, Credit Suisse, Swiss Re, Zurich Financial Services, and many other financial institutions have their headquarters in Zürich, the commercial center of Switzerland. Zürich is one of the world's biggest centers for offshore banking. The financial sector accounts for about one quarter of the city's economic activities. The Swiss Stock Exchange is located in Zürich (see also Swiss banking).
The Greater Zurich Area is Switzerland’s economic center and home to a vast number of international companies. The GDP of the Zürich Area is CHF 210 billion (USD 160 billion) or CHF 58,000 (USD 45,000) per capita (2005).
Contributory factors to economic strength
The success of the Greater Zürich Economic Area is due to many factors:
- The low tax rate in Switzerland and the possibility for foreign companies and private persons to optimize their tax burden by personalized tax agreement with the Tax Authorities is one point. This practice sometimes causes conflicts with Switzerland's neighbours in Europe.
- Another reason for the economic success of Zürich is the extensive research and educational (R&D) field of the city. The ETH Zurich is ranked alongside the University of Zurich: there are more than 58,000 students. The reservoir for qualified employees is therefore impressive. Switzerland scored in the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2005 within the Top 10 in the following categories:
- Nobel Prizes per resident (No.2)
- Active patents per resident (No.2)
- Private research expenditure (No.6)
- R&D expenditure per resident (No.6)
- R&D employees per resident (No.8)
- R&D expenditure as % of the GNP (No.10)
- Most of the Swiss R&D institutions are concentrated in the Zürich area.
- The high quality of life has been cited as a likely reason for the presence of international economic growth in Zürich. Mercer has ranked Zürich as the city with the highest quality of life anywhere in the world a number of years in a row. Berne and Geneva were also ranked among the top ten. Statistics show that in the productive sector of the city 60% speak German, 43% English, 30% French and 13% Italian. As such, the city is home to a considerable number of people speaking at least two or three languages.
These are factors why large corporations and service/research centers, such as IBM, General Motors Europe, Toyota Europe, UBS, Credit Suisse, Google, Microsoft,ABB Ltd., and Degussa are moving to Zurich.
The Swiss stock exchange
The Swiss stock exchange is called SWX Swiss Exchange. The SWX is the head group of several different worldwide operative financial systems: virt-x, Eurex, Eurex US, EXFEED and STOXX. The exchange turnover generated at the SWX was in 2007 of 1,780,499.5 million CHF; the number of transactions arrived in the same period at 35,339,296 and the Swiss Performance Index (SPI) arrived at a total market capitalization of 1,359,976.2 million CHF.
The SWX Swiss Exchange goes back more than 150 years. In 1996, fully electronic trading replaced the traditional floor trading system at the stock exchanges of Geneva (founded in 1850), Zürich (1873) and Basel (1876).
Since 2008 the SWX is part of the Swiss Financial Market Services. This holding becomes to the merging of the companies SWX Group, SIS Group and Telekurs Group.
The legislative power is in hands of the city parliament that is called "Gemeinderat". It consist of 125 members elected by the people of Zurich.
The executive power is being executed by the city council named "Stadtrat". Similar to the city parliament the councillors are also elected by the people of Zurich. Each councillor is responsible for a specific department. One member of the council is also acting as city president which best could be described as the mayor. Current city president is Elmar Ledergerber.
Education and research
Zürich is home to many universities, colleges and gymnasiums. Two of Switzerland's most distinguished universities are located in the city. The technical university ETH Zürich
which is controlled by the state and the University of Zürich
that is under direction of the canton of Zurich. Both universities are well-known and have an international reputation. They were listed in the top 200 world universities rated in 2007.
Many large Swiss
media conglomerates are headquartered in Zürich, such as tamedia
and the NZZ-Verlag
. Because of this, Zürich is one of the most important media locations in the German-speaking part of Switzerland
. This status has been recently reinforced by the increase in availability of online publications published in Zürich.
The headquarters of Switzerland
's national German-language
television network (SF
) are located in the Leutschenbach neighborhood, to the north of the Oerlikon
train station. Regional television network TeleZüri
(Zürich Television) has its headquarters near Escher-Wyss Platz. The production facilities for private networks Star TV, u1 TV and 3+ are located in Schlieren
One section of the Swiss
German-language public radio station DRS
is located in Zürich. There are other local radio stations broadcasting from Zürich, such as Radio 24 on the Limmatstrasse, Energy Zürich in Seefeld, Radio LoRa and Radio 1 (on the frequency of former Radio Tropic). There are other radio stations that operate only during certain parts of the year, such as CSD Radio (May/June), Radio Streetparade
(July/August) and rundfunk.fm (August/September).
There are three large daily newspapers published in Zürich that are known across Switzerland. The Neue Zürcher Zeitung
(NZZ), the Tages-Anzeiger
and the Blick
, the largest Swiss tabloid
. All three of those newspapers publish Sunday editions. These are the "NZZ am Sonntag", "SonntagsZeitung" and "SonntagsBlick". Besides the three main daily newspapers, there are free daily commuter newspapers
which are widely distributed: 20 Minuten
(20 minutes), published weekdays in the mornings, .ch
(weekday morning), News
(weekday morning) and http://www.blick.ch/blickamabend
, weekdays but in the late afternoon, and Cashdaily
, a finance-related weekday free newspaper published in the mornings, but only available at certain branded
newspaper sales kiosks
There are a number of magazines from major publishers that are based in Zürich. Some examples are: Bilanz
, Die Weltwoche
, and Annabelle
- Street Parade
- Sechseläuten, spring festival of the guilds and burning of the Böögg
- Zürcher Theater Spektakel, international theater festival, ranking among the most important European festivals for contemporary performing arts.
- Kunst Zürich, international contemporary art fair with an annual guest city (New York in 2005); combines most recent and youngest art with the works of well-established artists.
- Annual public city campaign, sponsored by the City Vereinigung (the local equivalent of a chamber of commerce) with the cooperation of the city government. Past themes have included lions (1986), cows (1998), benches (2003), and teddy bears (2005).
- Weltklasse Zürich, annual track and field athletics meeting held every August
- freestyle.ch, one of the biggest freestyle events in Europe
- Zürifäscht, a triennial public festival featuring music, fireworks, and other attractions throughout the old town. It is the largest public festival in Switzerland, attended by up to 2 million visitors. The next Zürifäscht is scheduled for July 2 to 4, 2010.
Art movements born in Zürich
Opera, ballet and theaters
- Zürcher Opernhaus: one of the most famous Opera Houses in Europe. Director is Alexander Pereira. Once a year elegant and exclusive Zürcher Opernball with the President of the Swiss Confederation and the economic and cultural élite of Switzerland.
- Schauspielhaus Zürich: Main Theater-Complex of the City. Has two Dépendances: Pfauen (historic old theater) in the Central City District and Schiffbauhalle (modern architecture in old industry-halls) in Zürich West (S-Bahn-Station Hardbrücke). Was home for Emigrants like Bertolt Brecht or Thomas Mann and World-Première-Theater for Max Frisch, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Botho Strauss or Nobel-Prize winner Elfriede Jelinek.
- Theater am Neumarkt: One of the oldest Theaters of the city. Established by the old guilds in the Old City District, located in a baroque Palace near Niederdorf Street. Two stages with mostly production by avantgarde directors from Europe. Has both classic theater (Racine, Goethe, Shakespeare) and new productions in its repertoire.
- Theater der Künste: Official theater of the Zurich University of the Arts. Next to the Theater Gessnerallee and the Bahnhofstrasse - the main shopping street of the city.
Nightlife and clubbing
Zürich offers a lot of variety when it comes for night-time leisure. It is the host city of the world-famous Street Parade, which takes place in August every year.
The most famous districts for Nightlife are the Niederdorf in the old town with bars, restaurants, lounges, hotels, clubs, etc. and a lot of fashion shops for a young and stylish public and the Langstrasse in the districts 4 and 5 of the city. There are authentic amusements: Brazilian bars, punk clubs, HipHop stages, Caribic restaurants, arthouse-cinemas, Turkish kebabs and Italian espresso-bars, but also sex shops or the famous red light district of Zürich.
In the past ten years new parts of the city have risen into the spotlight. Notably, the area known as Zürich West in district 5, near the Escher-Wyss square and the S-Bahn Station of Hardbrücke. This area has become the new up-and-coming part of Zürich with its avant-garde cinemas, music clubs, lounges, restaurants, cafés and bars.
Football is an essential aspect of Sports in Zurich. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)
resides in town. The city is also home to two major Swiss football clubs listed in Switzerland's highest league
; Grasshopper-Club Zürich
founded in 1886 and FC Zürich
which exists since 1896.
Another popular sport in Switzerland, ice hockey, is represented by the ZSC Lions. The club won this seasons Swiss ice hockey championship. The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) officiating as head organisation for ice hockey leagues worldwide is based in Zurich as well.
Major sport events running in Zurich are Weltklasse Zürich, an annual athletic meeting, and the Zurich Open, part of the WTA tour.
Zürich co-hosted some of the Euro 2008 games in the Letzigrund Stadion. Work on the new Letzigrund was completed in exceptionally quick time and the stadium opened in August 2007 just one year after the demolition of the old arena.
People who were born or died in Zürich:
- Richard Avenarius (19 November 1843 – 18 August 1896) Philospher
- Christoph Froschauer (ca. 1490–1 April 1564) Printer of the Froschauer Bible
- Marcel Grossmann (1878–1936), mathematician, died in Zürich
- Huldrych Zwingli (1484–1531), reformer
- Conrad Gessner (1516–1565), naturalist, born and died in Zürich
- Johann Jakob Scheuchzer (1672–1733), scholar, born in Zürich
- Johann Kaspar Lavater (1741–1801), poet and physiognomist, born in Zürich
- Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746–1827), educational reformer, born in Zürich
- James Sadleir (c. 1815–1881), fugitive swindler, murdered in Zürich
- Gottfried Keller (1819–1890), poet, born and died in Zürich
- Conrad Ferdinand Meyer (1825–1898), poet, born in Zürich
- Johanna Spyri (1827–1901), author of Heidi, died in Zürich
- Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia (1853–1920) Duchess of Edinburgh, died in Zürich
- Carl Jung (1875–1961) Lived and died in Zurich
- Wilhelm Filchner (1877–1957), explorer, died in Zürich
- James Joyce (1882–1941), Irish novelist, died in Zürich (buried at Fluntern cemetery in Zürich)
- Pancho Vladigerov (1899–1978), Bulgarian composer, born in Zürich
- Felix Bloch (1905–1983), physicist, born in Zürich
- Elias Canetti (1905–1994), novelist, died in Zürich
- Max Frisch (1911–1991), novelist, born and died in Zürich
- Hugo Koblet (1925–1964), cycling champion
- Bruno Ganz (born 1941), actor, born in Zürich
- Martin Suter (born 1948), author, born in Zürich
- Lucinda Ruh (born 1979), figure skater, born in Zürich
- Heinz Günthardt (born 1959), professional tennis player, born in Zürich