Zürich

For other uses of "Zurich", see Zurich (disambiguation).

Coordinates:

Zürich
Canton Zürich
District Zürich
Coordinates 
Population 366,809   (December 2005)
Area 91.88 km²
Elevation 408 m
Postal code 8000-8099
Mayor Elmar Ledergerber
Website www.stzh.ch

Zürich
View of the inner city with the four main churches visible, and the Albis in the backdrop
View of the inner city with the four main churches visible, and the Albis in the backdrop

Zürich (German: Zürich [ˈtsyːʁɪç], Zürich German: Züri [ˈtsyri], in English generally Zurich, Italian: Zurigo) is the largest city in Switzerland (population: 366,145 in 2004; population of urban area: 1,091,732) and capital of the canton of Zürich. The metropolitan population is around 1.3 million. The city is Switzerland's main commercial and cultural centre (the political capital of Switzerland being Bern), and is widely considered to be one of the world's global cities. According to a survey in 2006, it is the city with the best quality of life in the world.[1]

The origin of the name is probably the Celtic word Turus, a corroborating reference to which was found on a tomb inscription dating from the Roman occupation in the 2nd century; the antique name of the town in its romanized form was Turicum.

Contents

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Geography

Satellite photo of central Zürich
Satellite photo of central Zürich

The city is situated where the river Limmat leaves the northern end of Lake Zürich and 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 left bank of the river Limmat, about 700 meters north of where the river leaves the Lake Zürich. Today the incorporated city stretches somewhat beyond it natural hydrographic confines given by its hills and includes some neighborhoods to the northeast in the Glattal (valley of the river Glatt).

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History

General view showing Grossmünster church.
General view showing Grossmünster church.

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.

The Murerplan of 1576
The Murerplan of 1576

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.

Zürich joined the Swiss confederation (which at that time was a loose confederation of de facto independent states) as the fifth member in 1351. Zürich was expelled from the confederation 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 rural subjects, following the Züriputsch of 6 September. Most of the ramparts built in the 17th century were torn down, without ever having been sieged, to allay rural concerns over the city's hegemony. The Treaty of Zurich between Austria, France, and Sardinia was signed in 1859. [2]

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 (chief railway station) dates to 1871.

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Coat of arms

Banner bearer of Zürich, from a 1585 painting by Humbert Mareschet
Banner bearer of Zürich, from a 1585 painting by Humbert Mareschet

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.

== Sights ==

View over Zürich from the Üetliberg
View over Zürich from the Üetliberg
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Churches

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Museums

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Other sights

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Industry and commerce

Goldman Sachs offices on the Fraumünsterplatz (the light-colored building at the left)
Goldman Sachs offices on the Fraumünsterplatz (the light-colored building at the left)

UBS, Credit Suisse, Swiss Re, and many other financial institutions have their headquarters in Zürich, the commercial centre of Switzerland. Zürich is the world's primary centre for offshore banking, mainly due to Swiss bank secrecy. The financial sector accounts for about one quarter of the city's economic activities. The Swiss Stock Exchange has its headquarters in Zürich (see also Swiss banking).

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Business

Zürich is a leading financial centre and has repeatedly been proclaimed the global city with the best quality of life anywhere in the world. The Greater Zürich Area is Switzerland’s economic centre 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).

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Contributory factors to economic strength

The success of the Greater Zürich Economic Area as one of the most important in the world is probably due to more than one factor. The very low tax rate and the possibility for foreign companies and private persons to optimize their tax burden by personalized tax agreement with the Tax Authorities is surely one of the key points - a practice that often brings conflicts with Switzerland's neighbours in Europe, who do not like this type of successful and aggressive strategy for establishing European headquarters or service/research centres by known global economic players (e.g. IBM, General Motors Europe, Google, Microsoft, Pfizer). The fact that Switzerland doesn't have an inheritance tax is also an important factor for rich private persons.

Another reason for the economic success of Zürich can be seen in the 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.

Other data: Switzerland made an excellent showing in the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2005, scoring in the Top 10 in the following categories:

Most of the Swiss R&D institutions are concentrated in the Zürich area.

Zürich's old town at night
Zürich's old town at night

Of course also the quality of life is very important in the possible reasons for the international economic growth. Mercer has ranked Zürich as the city with the highest quality of life anywhere in the world[3] for the fourth consecutive time. Berne and Geneva were also ranked among the Top 10 – in fact, Switzerland was the only country with more than one city in the Top 10.

Thanks to extremely low crime rates, personal safety can be assured without extra charges. And the importance of security as an economic factor should not be underestimated.

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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 2004 of 1,244,045 million CHF; the number of transactions arrived in the same period at 14,697,381 and the Swiss Performance Index (SPI) arrived at a total market capitalisation of 780,320 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), Zurich (1873) and Basle (1876).

The SWX is subject to Swiss law. The Federal Act on Stock Exchanges and Securities Trading (SESTA) prescribes the concept of self-regulation, which obligates the SWX to meet international standards in its regulatory activities. The SWX itself is supervised by the Swiss Federal Banking Commission (SFBC).

The shares traded on SWX are mainly held in the Swiss-based accounts of domestic and international investors. Other products traded on the SWX Platform are bonds (CHF-denominated bonds as well as international bonds), traditional investments, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs, known as exchange-traded index funds) and non-standardised derivatives. In terms of turnover, the SWX Swiss Exchange operates Europe's largest market segment for listed and exchange-traded warrants.

Chairman of the Board of Directors of the SWX Group is Prof. Dr. Peter Gomez. Gomez is a business professor at St. Gallen business school. [17]

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Media outlets

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Daily newspapers

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Weekly magazines and newspapers

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Monthly magazines

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Electronic News System

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Art Movements born in Zürich

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Opera, Ballet and Theaters

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Nightlife and Clubbing

Zürich has an extreme variety of possibilities for night-time leisure. It became one of the capitals of Europe's electronic music scene and it's the host city of the world-famous Street Parade.

The most famous districts for Nightlife are the Niederdorf in the old city district 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. Here you find more rough but 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. At the Langstrasse you find the very international and multicultural heart of Zürich.

But in the last ten years new spots were created: Zürich West District within the old district 5, with its heart around the Escher-Wyss plaza and the S-Bahn Station of Hardbrücke with its cinemas (Abaton Cinemax complex), music clubs, lounges, restaurants, cafés and bars and the dépendance of the most important theater of the City: Schiffbau. New hotels were also built in this young quarter, which lives mostly during nighttime and weekends: hotel Ibis, Novotel Accor (on the stunning Turbinenplatz - a new plaza built with an interesting light design) and Etap Hotel. During the day you can visit art galleries, fashion shops (e.g. Freitag-Bags), organic-food stores and the Puls 5 Complex at the Turbinenplatz: a mall with an interesting architectural mix of modern and old (especially the huge Central Court [25]).

Check the online-mag usgang.ch for the latest events.

The most famous clubs in the city are:

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Education and research

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Sports

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Events

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Transportation

Trams in Zürich
Trams in Zürich

Zürich is a hub for rail, road, and air traffic. It has several railway stations, including Zürich Main Station, Zürich Oerlikon, Zürich Stadelhofen, and Zürich Altstetten. The Cisalpino, InterCityExpress, and even the TGV high-speed trains stop in Zürich.

The A1, A3 and A4 motorways pass close to Zürich. The A1 heads west towards Bern 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 has a major international airport at Kloten, less than 10 kilometres northeast of the city. There is also an airfield in Dübendorf, although it is not used for civil aviation.

Within Zürich and throughout the canton of Zürich, the ZVV network of public transport has traffic density rating 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). Rumour has it that no point exists on the ground floor within the central district which is farther than 150 metres from the next bus, tram, or train stop.

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).

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Notable people

People who were born or died in Zürich:

Famous residents:

See also: List of mayors of Zürich

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Hotels

St. Peter church
St. Peter church

Map Overview: Hotels in Zurich
See also: Zürich Tourismus

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Sister cities

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References

  1. http://www.citymayors.com/features/quality_survey.html
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_International_Encyclopedia
  3. Worldwide Quality of Living Survey. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
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External links

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