Old Town, Zurich
Old Town View slideshowSights in the eastern section of Zurich's Old Town include: the Town Hall, the Wasserkirche, the Grossmünster, the Art Gallery and the University.Sights in the western section of Zurich's Old Town include the Lindenhof, St Peter's Church, Münsterhof square, the Fraumünster Church and the Weinplatz.
St Peter's Church
St Peter's Church View slideshowTo the south of the Lindenhof, on a little hill, stands St Peter's Church, the oldest parish church in Zurich. It has an early 13th C. Romanesque choir under the tower and a Baroque nave (three-aisles, with galleries) of 1705. In 1538 the church acquired the largest clock dials in Europe, 8.7 m/29ft in diameter. The great preacher and writer J. C. Lavater (1741-1801) was pastor here for 23 years; his former house was the Hans zur Armbrust (No. 6) on the square outside the church.
To the south of St Peter's Church is the Münsterhof, a pleasant square in Zurich's Old Town, with a long history. On the Münsterbrüche (1838) over the Limmat stands a bronze equestrian statue (by H. Haller, 1937) of Burgomaster Waldmann (beheaded in 1489), under whose rule Zurich reached the peak of its power in the 15th C.
Church of Our Lady
Church of Our Lady View slideshowOn the south side of Zurich's Münsterhof square is the Fraumünster (restored 1965), a three-aisled pillared basilica with a Gothic nave (13th-15th C.), an Early Gothic transept and a pointed spire. The Fraumünster was given by the Emperor Ludwig (Louis) the German to his daughter Hildegard in 853 and, from that time until the high Middle Ages, the head of the convent was also governor of the town.Choir windows by Marc Chagall.
In the imposing Late Romanesque choir of Zurich's Fraumünster are five stained-glass windows by Marc Chagall (1970). The undercroft contains remains of the crypt of the abbey church founded by the Emperor Ludwig (Louis) the German in 853. The abbey itself was demolished in 1898 to make way for the Stadthaus, but the Romanesque and Gothic cloister survives, with paintings of old Zurich legends by P. Bodmer (1928).
Zunfthaus zur Meisen (ceramics)
On the north side of Zurich's Münsterhof (No. 20) is the Zunfthaus zur Meisen, a magnificent Late Baroque guild-house (by D. Morf, 1752-57) in the style of a French hotel (town mansion) with a cour d'honneur, which now houses the Swiss National Museum's ceramic collection of the 18th C., (including Zurich work from the porcelain factory in the Schooren) near Kilchberg and a court of honor.
Address: Wühre 2, CH-8001 Zürich, Switzerland
Zunfthaus zur Waag (restaurant)
On the west side of Zurich's Münsterhof square is an old guild-house (No. 8), the Zunfthaus zur Waag (1636; restaurant) with a stately Baroque doorway and Late-Gothic window-frames in the guild-hall.
From the Zunfthaus zur Waag, Zurich's Stadthausquai leads south past the Bauschänzli summer restaurant to Bürkliplatz and the Quaibrücke, which crosses the outflow of the Limmat to Bellevue Platz on the opposite bank. In Bürkliplatz is the landing stage for the lake steamers on which visitors can take delightful trips on Lake Zurich. To the south, in good weather, there is a splendid view over the lake to the Glarus Alps.
From Zurich's Weinplatz, with the Weinbauer fountain (1909), we cross the Limmat on the Rathausbrücke (1878), successor to a series of earlier bridges which for centuries provided the only crossing. Along the banks of the Limmat are well-preserved old Burghers' houses, such as the "Schipfe" housing complex on the west bank which dates from the 17th-18th C.
Along the Limmatquai, a popular Zurich shopping street, are a number of elegant old guild-houses with richly appointed interiors reflecting the wealth of the guilds which governed the town until 1789: at No. 54 the Haus zur Saffran (1719-23), at No. 42 the Haus zur Rüden (1660) and at No. 40 the two-storied Haus zur Zimmerleuten (1709: extended 1783-1785; with a beautiful oriel window), all now housing restaurants. No. 62 is the Haus der Museumsgesellschaft (1866-1868; rebuilt in 1965).
Grossmunster View slideshowOn an open terrace above the river stands Zurich's principal church, the Grossmünster (Protestant), which dominates the city with its twin towers (domed tops added in 1782). Built between the 11th and the 13th C., it is a Romanesque three-aisled galleried basilica with an aisleless chancel over a crypt of about 1100. The upper levels of the towers date from 1487. On the upper part of the south tower, on the side facing the river, is a seated figure of Charlemagne (copy: original in the crypt), who is believed to have founded the house of secular canons to which the church originally belonged; on the north side of the north tower is a figure of the Reformer Heinrich Bullinger. Notable features of the church are the two modern bronze doors (1935-36), the sculptured Romanesque capitals, remains of Gothic wall-paintings and the Late Romanesque cloister (ca. 1200). In the choir are three vividly colored stained-glass windows designed by Augusto Giacometti (1933) and in the crypt is the badly weathered statue of Charlemagne. From 1519 until his death in the Battle of Kappel in 1531 the great Reformer Ulrich Zwingli was a secular priest in the Grossmünster. His residence was close by, at Kirchgasse 13. The Neo-Gothic Grossmünster chapel (1858-1859) was designed by J. J. Breitinger, the minster terrace is by A. Negrelli.
Old Town streets
In Zurich's Spiegelgasse is a house (No. 17) in which Lenin lived in 1917. In this street, too, was the cabaret in which Hans Arp and Tristan Tzara launched the Dadaist movement in 1916.
Zurich's Spiegelgasse runs east into the Neumarkt in which are the Shoemakers' Guildhouse (No. 5), now the Theater am Neumarkt. The Hans zum Rech (No. 4), which dates from the High Middle Ages, now houses the town archives (opening times given). The 13th C. Grimmenturm, (No. 27, restored in the mid 1960s) was originally a residence.
Address: Newmarkt 4, CH-8001 Zürich, Switzerland
Gottfried Keller House
Set back from the Spiegelgasse in the east side of Zurich's old town, Gottfried Keller House was the birthplace of the great Swiss writer Gottfried Keller (commemorative plaque); he was the first Chief Clerk of the canton of Zurich. Close by, at Rindermarkt 12, is the Oepfelchammer restaurant, a favorite haunt of his. The house in which he died is at Zeltweg 27, southeast of the Heimplatz.
Johanna Spyri Foundation
In Zurich's Zeltweg lived the young authoress Johanna Spyri for 15 years; some of her work can be seen at No. 13, where the Spyri foundation is housed.
Address: Zelteg 11, CH-8032 Zürich, Switzerland
University library of Zurich
Adjoining Zurich's Predigerkirke is the Central Library, on the site of a Dominican monastery. The buildings have recently been extended; the restored main house in the Zähringerplatz houses a special collection and the North American Library; there also is a public wing with reading rooms along the Mühlgasse, an administration block between the Seilergraben and the Chorgasse.
Address: Zähringerplatz 6, CH-8001 Zürich, Switzerland
Hirschengraben (Haus zum Rechberg)
To the east of Zurich's Neumarkt is the Haus zum Rechberg, Hirschengraben 40 (at the corner of Künstlergasse), which was built by D. Morf for the guild master J. C. Werdmuller amid terraced gardens between 1759 and 1790. It is Zurich's finest Roccoco building and the most important secular building of the 18th C. In 1799 the house was occupied by French and allied generals and, in 1815, by the Emperor Francis I of Austria. Also of interest is the Hans zum Neuberg (No. 59/60) which dates from 1733 but rebuilt in 1818; Alfred Escher, the Zurich statesman, was born here. On the upper floor of No. 42, the Haus zum Krönli, built in 1739 and restored in the 19th-20th centuries., can be seen fine paneling. To the southeast is the Conservatory of Music.
Zurich Art Gallery
Address: Heimplatz 1, Postfach 8024, CH-8001 Zürich, Switzerland
Facing the Zurich Art Gallery, on the southeast side of the Heimplatz, is the Haus zum Pfauen (House of the Peacock: built 1888-89, reconstructed 1976-78), with the Schauspielhaus (theater), one of the most renowned of German-language theaters, completely remodeled in the recent rebuilding.
From 1642 to 1833 Zurich was surrounded by a ring of ramparts and bastions. After the demolition of these fortifications the moats were filled in, and the town was able to expand beyond its former limits. The monumental complexes of the University and the College of Technology are the result of this wave of building activity in the 19th and 20th centuries.
University Medical Collection
The museum illustrates the development of medicine through its rich collection of medical objects. Medical developments in areas such as anesthesia, tuberculosis and AIDS are represented.
Address: Sammlung der Universität, Rämistrasse 71, CH-8006 Zürich, Switzerland
University Archaeological Collection
The collection has Egyptian, Syrian, Greek and Roman works of art. It also contains plaster reproductions of original antique art.
Address: Rämistrasse 73, CH-8006 Zürich, Switzerland
University Anthropological Collection
The exhibition at the Zurich University Anthropological Collection gives an overview of human evolution.
Address: Winterthurerstrasse 190, CH-8057 Zürich, Switzerland
University Botanical Garden
The greenhouses of the botanical garden are open during the following hours:daily 9:30-11:30 a.m. and 1-4 p.m.The garden contains more than 1.5 million plants.
Address: Zollikerstrasse 107, CH-8008 Zürich, Switzerland
University Zoological Museum
The fauna of Switzerland from the ice age to present day is exhibited.
Address: Karl Schmid-Strasse 4, CH-8006 Zürich, Switzerland
Federal College of Technology
Immediately north of Zurich's University is the Federal College of Technology (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule), founded in 1855, which now has some 11,000 students. The two-storied building with wings was constructed by Gottfried Semper in 1860-1864 in the Historism style, and extended in 1915-1925 by Gustav Gull. Semper was also responsible for the Federal Observatory (Sternwarte; Schmelzbergstrasse 25). In the main building of the College of Technology is a comprehensive collection of graphic art (exhibitions). Geological and mineralogical collections are housed at Sonneggstrasse 5. Extensions to the college were built on the Hönggerberg to the northwest of the town. From the northwest corner of the main complex a funicular descends to the Limmatquai.
Thomas Mann Archives
A collection devoted to the writer Thomas Mann (1875-1955) including documents and manuscripts. A library can be observed after prior arrangement.
Address: Schönbergasse 15, CH-8001 Zürich, Switzerland
Town Council reception rooms
At Seestrasse 203, the Muraltengut has reception rooms which are used by the Zurich Town Council.
Guild House of Meisen China
This exhibit highlights Switzerland's contribution to the culture of china and earthenware from the 18th century.
James Joyce Foundation
The foundation contains manuscripts and books by James Joyce.
Address: Augustinergasse 9, CH-8001 Zurich, Switzerland
The Toy Museum of Zurich presents toys from the 18th - 20th C.
Address: Fortunagasse 15, CH-8001 Zürich, Switzerland
ETH Graphic Collection
Prints by Durer, Rembrandt, Piranesi and Goya plus Swiss prints from the 15-20th C.
Address: ETH-Zentrum, Ramistrasse 101, CH-8000 Zürich, Switzerland
Museum of Swiss Hotellerie
The development of tourism and hotels between 1830 and 1930 is shown in annually changing exhibitions.The 15th C cellar is classified as a historical monument.
Address: Witellikerstrasse 22, CH-8702 Zollikon, Switzerland
Museum of Tin Figures
The Museum of Tin Figures contains toy exhibitions and the Gottstein-Blum model collection.
Address: Obere Zäune 19, CH-8001 Zürich, Switzerland
ETH Geological and Mineral Collection
An earth-sciences exhibition including paleontology and mineralogy.
Address: ETH-Zentrum, Sonneggstrasse 5, CH-8092 Zürich, Switzerland
The Kulturama presents a paleological collection.
Address: Letzi, Espenhofweg 60, CH-8047 Zürich, Switzerland
You may also be interested in:
More on PlanetWare