Big City Tales

The Sweet and Savory Sights of Zurich

March 11, 2018
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If you’re like me and enjoy sampling sweet and savory things in equal measure (especially when on vacation!), the city of Zurich, Switzerland will satisfy both your gastronomical and visual cravings.  Yes, chocolate and cheese go hand-in-hand when capturing the sights of this deliciously tantalizing community by the water.

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The Limmat and Lake Zurich

Zurich’s historic Old Town in the Altstadt district stretches along both sides of the Limmat River, which flows out of Lake Zurich. In warm weather, riverside and lakeside recreational activities abound from boating to sunbathing during the day and dancing under the stars at night.

More eye candy lies on the horizon in the form of the majestic Swiss Alps. Uetliberg is a popular mountain destination for hiking and the summit offers a panoramic view of the city and lake. There are also camping spots and a downhill bike track for outdoor adventure enthusiasts.

Fraumunster and Grossmunster

As two of the main churches in Zurich, the Fraumunster (Women’s Minster) and Grossmunster (Great Minster) face each other across the Limmat.  In the Middle Ages, the churches battled each other for religious supremacy: one being of Catholic origin; the other being Protestant. During the Swiss Reformation the churches were ultimately folded into the  Evangelical Reformed Church of the Canton of Zurich.

The Fraumunster is noteworthy for not only being built on the ruins of a former abbey for aristocratic women, but also for the series of five stained glass windows created by artist Marc Chagall in 1970. Each of the windows has a dominant colour and depicts a  Christian story.

The Grossmunster has an equally colourful history. Legend has it the church was founded by none other than Charlemagne, also known as King Charles I and Holy Roman Emperor. Charlemagne’s horse apparently fell to its knees over the graves of Felix and Regula, the patron saints of Zurich. Today, the church’s twin towers and distinct Romanesque style makes it one of the city’s most immediately recognizable landmarks.

Museums and Galleries 

With over 50 museums and more than 100 art galleries, Zurich is an art lover’s and history buff’s heaven.

The Museum of Art, Kunsthaus Zürich, is known for its extensive holdings of modern art paintings including the likes of Munch and Picasso, as well as its collections of sculptures, photographs and videos.

The Swiss National Museum contains objects and ancient artifacts of cultural and historical significance to Switzerland. The museum is located in a 100-year-old building built in the style of an elaborate French chateau that gives it a fairy tale-like appearance.

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Parks and Gardens

Whether your preference is flora or fauna, there are places to satisfy both in Zurich.

The Botanical Garden contains roughly 15,000 species of plants and trees including many rare types from the southern hemisphere. The Chinese Garden was built around the theme of “Three Friends of Winter” and highlights three plants (pine, bamboo and plum blossom) that brave the elements during the cold. The Chinese Garden also features native plants such as poplar and willow trees, and a central water feature that symbolizes friendship.

The Zurich Zoo includes several hundred species of animals and is famous for its Asian elephant exhibit. There is also a penguin parade during the winter months when it is cold enough outside for the penguins to waddle about. In addition to animal displays, the zoo showcases three global ecosystems: Eurasia, South America and Africa/Madagascar.

Shops and Eateries

After a day of seeing the sights, the world-famous Bahnhofstrasse street offers an ideal setting to do some shopping at exclusive boutiques and some sampling of the best of Swiss cuisine’s sweet and savory options at quaint cafes.

The mile-long street is also a major financial centre and its main square area, Paradeplatz, has the distinction of being one of the most expensive pieces of real estate in all of Switzerland owing to it being the headquarter location of many Swiss banks.