A little piece of history.
Favorite thing: The Old City of Bern is the medieval city center built on a peninsula surrounded on three sides by the Aare River. It was founded by Berthold V, Duke of Zähringen in 1191. According to a legend he had said that he would name his new city after the first animal he should come to see during a hunt. It happened to be a bear so the city was named accordingly.
The city's layout has remained more or less unchanged since its construction during the 12th to 15th century despite a ravaging fire in 1405. After the fire all new houses were built in sandstone.
Bern joined the Swiss Confederation in 1353 and soon started growing. The original size of the city can be measured as we know that the Zytglogge from the very beginning was the city gate in the defence wall. But in the middle of the 13th century a new defence line had to be build further west, and around 90 years later, 1344 - 46, a third extension was put up. This city gate, called Christoffelturm, was demolished in 1865, though.
In the 16th century, Bern became powerful and rich. A number of public fountains were added to the cityscape. Some of these were topped with large allegorical statues. There are still eleven of them visible in the city. The fountains served both to show the power and wealth of the city and to provide fresh water for the citizens.
In the beginning of 19th century Bern had expanded as far as it could within the old city walls. An increasing number of people were living outside the city walls in neighboring communities. Out of this the modern Bern was established.Related to:
- Historical Travel
The city's coat-of-arms.
Favorite thing: The story behind the city's coat-of-arms says that that the city was named after the first animal killed by von Zähringer while hunting during the construction of the city in 1191. It was a bear so a bear it must be on the coat-of-arms as well.
Originally there was an upright standing bear on white background but that had to bechanged since Berlin had the same coat-of-arms.
How to find the objects.
Favorite thing: I have put links to Google Map in my tips to make it easier to find the objects mentioned, when possible to get the right position. The links are marked in italics. Unfortunately Google Map isn't very precise and too often points to other buildings than the wanted one.
Useful phone numbers
Favorite thing: The most common European emergency number 112 (following Directive 2002/22/EC: Universal Service Directive) and also standard on GSM mobile phones. 112 is used in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Republic of Macedonia, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United Kingdom in addition to their other emergency numbers.
Here are some useful phone numbers that you might need while in Switzerland:
Road emergency: 140
Psychological support (free and anonymous): 143
Psychological support for teens and children (free and anonymous): 147
Helicopter air-rescue (Rega): 1414 or by radio on 161.300 MHz
Air rescue (Air Glaciers) (in Valais only): 1415
Favorite thing: Not realy a favorite thing...
In Berne you have to search to find public toilets... :-((
Here are a few:
- Railway station behind the ticket counter, it's called McClean. Expensive (CHF 1.50) but very clean.
- Rifflyhof, Big departement store near the Station, use the entrance to the Restaurant(mostly clean and free)
- Migros in Marktgasse (Supermarket), upstairs near Restaurant, free of charge.
- Kornhaus, go up to the Library (free Internet for 5 min), look around a little and then ask for the key (closed Sat-Mo).
- Next to Münster
- Behind Heiliggeist-Kirche, the nearest free toilet near the station
- Men only: side wall of the Zytglogge (cold in winter), it is a official Pissoir!! see pic
Of course you can go in to the Restaurants, but they don't realy like it when you only use the toilets without buying anything...
Few words in Swiss German
Favorite thing: Below few words in Swiss German that you can use while visiting Switzerland.
Hello - Grüezi
Hello (to more than one person) - Grüezi mitenand
Good evening - Gueten Abig
Hi (more informal than "grüezi") - Hoi/Salü/Sali
Hi (to more than one person) - Hoi zäme
Good bye - (Uf) Widerluege/Ciao/Tschüss
Thanks a lot - Merci vilmal
See you later - Bis spöter
Monday - Määntig
Tuesday - Ziischtig
Wednesday - Mittwuch
Thursday - Dunschtig
Friday - Friitig
Saturday - Samschtig
Sunday - Sunntig
One - Eis
Two - Zwei
Three - Drüü
Four - Vier
Five - Feuf
Six - Sächs
Seven - Sibe
Eight - Acht
Nine - Nüün
Ten - Zää
Eleven - Elf
Twelve - Zwölf
Thirteen - Driizä
Fourteen - Vierzä
Fifteen - Füfzä
Sixteen - Sächzä
Seventeen - Sibezä
Eighteen - Achzä
Nineteen - Nünzä
Twenty - Zwänzk
Twenty-four - Vierezwänzk
Mountain passes and tunnels information
Favorite thing: It is always better to be informed about road conditions.
So for this reason here's a website that wil tell you every Swiss tunnel and mountain pass status, open or closed.
Arriving in Bern: Tourist Zentrum
Favorite thing: If you arrive in Bern by train, go to the Tourist Zentrum in the same railway station. The girl attending the place was very kind and helpful. She gave as all kind of leaflets, a map and info about sightseeing, how to get to the attractions, museums opening time and, most important, when she heard that we were willing to visit Paul Klee Zentrum, recommended us to buy the BernCard, which proved to be a very good tip.
Si llegas a Berna en tren, ve al Tourist Zentrum (Oficina de Turismo) que hay en la misma estacion. La chica que atendia era muy amable y servicial. Nos dio todo tipo de folletos, un mapa e informacion sobre visitas, como llegar a las atracciones, el horario de apertura de los museos y, lo mas importante, cuando supo que queriamos visitar el Paul Klee Zentrum, nos recomendo comprar la BernCard, lo cual resulto ser un consejo muy buenoRelated to:
- Budget Travel
BernCard: a good deal
Favorite thing: We bought BernCard for our daytrip to Bern. It allows you to enjoy free unlimited travel on the public transportation system in the City of Bern and the surrounding region (zones 10/11). You have also free admission to the permanent exhibits at 27 museums, libraries, archives and gardens (excluding special exhibitions). For 24 hours, it costs 17 CHF. If you consider that the admission fee to Paul Klee Zentrum is 14 CHF and that you will need to take a tram to get there... it is really worth to buy it. We even catch a glimpse of the new Bern: we simply took a (free) tram which took us to BEA expo centre. There are also cards for 48 hours (27 CHF) and 72 hours (33 CHF). You can buy Bern Card at tourist centres
Compramos la BernCard para nuestro dia en Berna. Te permite disfrutar de transporte ilimitado en el sistema de transporte publico de Berna y la zona colindante (zonas 10/11). Tambien tienes entrada gratis a las exposiciones permanentes de 27 museos, bibliotecas, archivos y jardines (se excluyen las exposiciones temporales). Para 24 horas, cuesta 17 CHF. Si tomas en consideracion que la entrada al Paul Klee Zentrum cuesta 14 CHF y que necesitaras tomar un tranvia para cada trayecto... vale la pena comprarla. Incluso vimos un poquito de la zona nueva de Berna: simplemente cogimos un tranvia (que era gratis) que nos llevo al BEA expo centre. Puedes comprar la BernCard en las oficinas de turismoRelated to:
- Budget Travel
- Museum Visits
Where to surf the Web:
Favorite thing: Of course you don't want to looe contact with your VT and other friends, so here the places where you can surf the net free:
- Kornhausbibliothek (library in the Kornhaus). Big Building at the Kornhaus. Enterance at the back of the building, take the Lift to the 3rd floor. Officialy only 5 minutes but if there is nobody waiting they will let you surf longer.
- Jäggi Bücher. The Bookstore in the departement store Loeb next to the station. You can surf free for 20 mins. Normaly lots of people waiting.
- C&A. In this Store there are 2 Internet stations downstairs.
The People of Bern
Favorite thing: The vast majority of people in Bern are tourist-friendly and only too willing to help. Be polite, and speak slowly and clearly in your language if necessary (normally everyone understands at least some English and French) and you will be taken good care of. Many Bernese people do appreciate - and indeed rely on - the tourist industry. Have fun!
Favorite thing: Pleasant city, not too large. in a beautiful landscape. Bern is the capital of Switzerland and has a population of app. 127.000. The spoken languague in Berndütsch, a Swiss-German dialect, but most people speak German (we have to learn it at school), French and many people speak English as well
Fondest memory: Swiss buildings & chalets are often adorned with such brightly colored flowers making them very pleasing for the eyes & hence enhancing one's mood for the day. How I wish we could see more of these elsewhere...Related to:
- Family Travel
Behind me is the Nydeggkirche
Favorite thing: Behind me is the Nydeggkirche (Nydegg Church) dating back to the 14th century. On the doors you can find bronze reliefs illustrating scenes from the life of Christ.
If you have time, walk along this direction and continue up Junkerngasse to Berne's late Gothic Cathedral (Munster). The Cathedral's greatest work of art is Erhart Kung's vision of the Last Judgement (1490-1495) above the main entrance. According to some who had seen it, the relief shows members of all classes howling in eternal damnation.Related to:
Visit the BARENGRABEN (Bear Pit)
Favorite thing: Visit the BARENGRABEN (BEAR PIT): Since 15th century, bears have been kept in the city. As many as 20 bears may live in the 3 pits. On Easter Sunday, the bear cubs are let out with their mother for their spring outing.
This picture was taken near the Barengraben. I thought the architecture is very interesting with its triangular roof. Take note also of the bridge below which is Berne's oldest (1461-1489).Related to:
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