West of the Limmat, Zurich
The pulsating activity of Zurich is focused on the Bahnhofstrasse, a street 1,200 m/3,937ft long (most of it pedestrianized) which extends from the main station to the lake (landing stages). The middle section of the street was built in 1867 after the filling in of an old moat, the Fröschengraben; the lower part, towards the lake, was built from 1877 onwards, the upper part towards the station from 1885. Among the interesting buildings in the lower part, dating from the turn of the century are the Weber business premises (Nr. 75), built in 1899 by R. Kuder and A. Müller (re-built 1912-1913 and 1928) and the Jelmoli department store (Seidengasse 1) a complex of buildings which has been reconstructed several times; it was originally designed in 1897 by H. A. Stadler and J. E. Usteri with a skeleton in iron. The historic facade (1913-1916) of the Peterhof and Leuenhof premises was the work of the brothers O. and N. Pfister.
Beyer Museum of Measurement of Time
In the basement of No. 31 Bahnhofstasse can be seen a comprehensive collection of timepieces belonging to the Beyer watch and clock business. The exhibits range from sun, oil and water-clocks to Swiss clocks with wooden wheels and Nuremberg pendulum clocks. There are also automata, navigational instruments and clocks from the Far East.
In the lower part of Zurich's Bahnhofstrasse lies the Paradeplatz, with the palatial headquarters of the Schweizerischen Kreditanstalt (1876) and the Hotel Savoy Baur en Ville, built in 1838 and reconstructed in 1978. In the 18th C., there was a cattle market on the Paradeplatz and, later, as its name suggests, it was used as a parade ground.
The Konditorei Sprüngli is the heart of a chocolate empire which has its chief factory in Kilchberg. The Sprüngli firm, the largest confectionery concern in Switzerland, was divided about a century ago to form the chocolate factory Lindt and Sprüngli (Rudolf Sprüngli) and the Sprüngli Confectionery, now headed by Richard Sprüngli. As well as the main shop in the Paradeplatz (renovated in 1985), there are seven other shops belonging to the firm. Well-known confectionery specialties are: mouth- watering gâteaux, the delicious "Luxemburgerli" and Sprüngli's chocolate cubes "number one".
Urania Observatory & Pestalozzi Gardens
Towards the upper end of Zurich's Bahnhofstrasse, on the corner of Uraniastrasse, stands the Urania Observatory and, to the west, are the Pestalozzi gardens with a bronze statue (1899) of the famous pedagogue Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827).
Main Railroad Station
The main railroad station (Hauptbahnhof), built 1865-1871 on the site of Zurich's old station, is still equal to present-day needs. On its south side is the Bahnhofplatz, now reserved exclusively for traffic. In the square can be seen a monument (1990) to the Swiss statesman Alfred Escher (died 1882) by R. Kissing. Beneath the square is a pedestrian concourse with a modern shopping area ("Shopville"). The west facade of the station is being given an artistic "facelift". On the north side of the station is the Air Terminal (buses to Zurich airport 20 minutes).
The Swiss National Museum is housed within a castle-like building featuring Gothic architectural elements. The museum showcases some interesting artifacts concerning the history and culture of Switzerland.
Museum of Decorative Arts
Northwest of the Zurich railroad station on the left bank of the Sihl, at Ausstellungsstrasse 60, is the Museum of Decorative Arts (Kunstgewerbemuseum) which, from time to time, puts on special exhibitions of graphic art, design, architecture and applied art. The museum has drawings and prints from the 16th C. to the present day (including book-illustrations, commercial art, popular art) and a notable collection of posters with some 70,000 examples, including posters by Toulouse-Lautrec.
To the west of Zurich's Bahnhofstrasse, extending to the Sihlporte, is a district containing many commercial offices and the Börse (Stock Exchange). To the east, towards the Limmat, is the "Kleine Stadt" ("Little Town"), the western half of the old town.
Museum of Ethnology
The Museum of Ethnology has permanent exhibits of Indian gods and folk culture in Tamil Nadu. The art of black Africa and Ethiopia is reflected in its folk paintings.
Address: Park zur Katz, Pelikanstrasse 40, CH-8001 Zürich, Switzerland
Opening hours: 10am-1pm, 2pm-5pm; Sun: 11am-1pm, 2pm-5pm; Wed: 10am-1pm, 2pm-8pm; Sat: 11am-1pm, 2pm-5pm; Closed: Mon, Tue
Always closed on: January 2nd Holiday - Switzerland (Jan 2), New Year's Day (Jan 1), Swiss National Day (Aug 1)
Entrance fee: FREE
Facilities: Gift shop
Bärengasse Museum of Domestic Life
The Museum of Domestic life contains exhibitions of Zurich domestic interiors of the 17th and 18th C. It also houses the Sasha Morgenthaler Doll Museum.
Address: Bärengasse 22, CH-8001 Zürich, Switzerland
Opening hours: 10:30am-5pm; Closed: Mon
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), May Day / Labor Day (May 1), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Good Friday - Christian, Pentecost Monday (Whit Monday) - Christian, Easter - Christian
Entrance fee: FREE
Facilities: Gift shop
Map of Zurich Attractions