Saturday, 30 July 2016


Over the last twelve months we have visited numerous cities and villages in Switzerland. But we did not have the chance so far to visit the Swiss capital. As a matter of fact, Switzerland does not have a capital at all. At least not from formal perspective. After all, it is a confederation of cantons, each of which is to some extent a separate state. Still, there exists in Switzerland one special city, called the "federal city", where the parliament of the Confederation resides. Ladies and gentleman - welcome to Bern.

Bern lies on the banks of the river Aare.

On top of the hill you will see one of the most prominent buildings in the city - the parliament house, known as the Federal Palace.

The Federal Palace was built at the beginning of the twentieth century, in neo-classic style.

My Postcrossing friends surely know that Bern is not only the seat of the Swiss parliament and government, it is also the seat of the Universal Postal Union. Which even has a special monument in the city center.

The Old Town of Bern is centered around the main street, which is bordered by similar houses, all of which are decorated with flags of Switzerland and the canton Bern.

In the middle of the street you will find fountains. But they are not just fountains. They date back to the sixteenth century and each of them is different. That one represents the Piper.

The arcades of the buildings facing the street constitute one of the longest covered shopping promenades of Europe.

You might have noticed the tram rails on both sides. They go in waves, since the trams have to respect the fountains. That one is the Carrier of the Flag.

The tower in the back is the Zytglogge, an old guard and clock tower, built in early thirteenth century. It includes a huge clock on one of the sides.

Well, on the other side it includes two clocks! The fountain representing a bear in full armour  is a memorial to the founder of Bern, Berchtold von Zähringer. According to a legend, Berchtold shot a bear on the Aare peninsula as he was searching for a site to build a city. Since then, the bear is a symbol of the city of Bern. And it is not the last bear that you will see today.

The Zytglogge and the fountains, together with the rest of the Old Town, has made UNESCO to inscribe Bern on its World Heritage list.

Look up. And yes, yet another bear, this time painted on the wall.

Let's move in the direction of the river Aare.  The high gothic tower belongs of course to the Bern cathedral.

On the hill you surely noticed terraces. And yes, the capital city of Switzerland, in the very heart of the Old Town, conceals vineyard. And possibly some vegetables as well.

The river is divided by some kind of dam.

As we cross the river, I need to ask you to look on the other side. The hill looks unusual, isn't it?

Let's come closer. It includes again some terraces and a little brook.

No, it is not yet another farm in the city center. It is the Bear Park, house to the living symbols of the city of Bern.

As you might have guessed, the bears are not excessively enjoying the interest of all the tourists, especially taking into acount the high fence that does not allow to treat them as lunch. So what would any wise bear do in such a case? Obviously - take a nap.

Let's not wake him up and turn back on our tiptoes in the direction of new adventures.

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