The city oldest structure was built in the first half of the Twelfth Century. Construction of the clock storey in 1467 and installation of the astronomic clockworks with the famous astronomy clock dial in 1545. Below this group of figures: the knight, death and between them a "Mannli", the King of Fools. Since 1545, the Grim Reaper has turned over his sand dial at the top of every hour. "The glass is full" as he nods his bald pate toward the knight, the symbol of a life of power. The clockworks were built by Lorenz Liechti and Joachim Habrecht. Below it are the two city patrons from 1583, Urs and Viktor.
On the top step of the St.Ursen Cathedral (built between 1762 and 1773) an uplifting feeling is kindled; you are standing on the famous Pisoni flight of stairs flanked by J.B. Babel's figure fountains of Moses and Gideon.
Inside this most important Early Classical Swiss structure of pale Solothurn marble, you find the imposing high altar in the form of a sarcophagus by Carlo Luca Pozzi.
The crypt contains the cathedral's treasures: Among other things, it houses the Hornbacher Sacraments (Reichenau, ca. 983) and Bendl and Manlich's splendid statue of the Virgin Mary from the same year.
Because we are in the holy 11 town, it is no wonder that the cathederal of Saint Urs has eleven altars and eleven bells, and that its imposing staircase leading down from the main door is made up of flights of eleven steps.
A masterful fortified structure at the eastern entrance to the city, which forms an extraordinary architectural group together with St.Ursen Tower. After the Schwabian War in 1504, the master builder Hans Gibelin began with the construction that was completed in 1535.
Large parts of the fortifications are preserved and are well worth to explore.
In the small alley Lýwengasse and at Westringstrasse a few remains of Roman walls are to recognise.
Along the northern edge of the old town the medieval walls with a couple of towers are well preserved.
South of the Aare river, near Wengi bridge, you can find the remains of fortifications with a tower, called Krummer Turm.
1667 - 1727 the fortifications at the Eastern edge of the old town, north of the cathedral were built. They are well preserved, too.
Like in Bern and Fribourg, for example, Solothurn has a number of fountains with figures, to find on the small squares in the old town.
These figures were made by Hans Gieng and his student Laurent Perroud in the 16th century, mostly modelled after those in Bern and Fribourg.
I saw four of them: Mauritius-, Simson-, St. Georg- and Justice fountain. Every single one a gem.
The town hall is one of the most impressive buildings in Solothurn.
Its massive tower was is the only remain of the first building at this place from 1476.
The facade was re-modeled from 1623 on in Renaissance (better: manieristic (?)) style, finished in 1711. Very unusual, but beautiful.
In the tower on the northern side you can find a fascinating spiral staircase.
The clock tower is a landmark of the town. Built in the first half of the 12th century it is the oldest originally preserved building of Solothurn.
The stunning astronomical clock with figure play dates from 15/16th century.
The Jesuit Church was built 1680 - 89 in Baroque style. Inside you find magnificent stucco works of artists from Ticino.
The rich decorations, stucco with frescos, a number of altars with beautiful paintings are truly unbelievable.
The cathedral was built 1763-73 by Matteo and Paolo Antonio Pisoni (Ascona) in classical style (a first in Switzerland). Inside take a look at the beautiful stucco works by Francesco Pozzi, the organ and the altars.
The rich treasure contains e.g. a script ("Hornbacher Sakramentar") from 983.
For great views climb up the tower (60 m).
THESE BUILDINGS WERE AROUND A SQUARE FILLED WITH OUTDOOR CAFE'S AND RESTAURANTS AND MANY TOURISTS. I HAD NEVER HEARD OF THIS TOWN BUT LOOKING AT ALL THESE PEOPLE SOMEONE IS RECOMMENDING A VISIT. IT WAS A UNIQUE BUSY CITY, ESPECIALLY AT RUSH HOUR.
Built in 1614, the arsenal of Solothurn has been converted into a museum of weaponry, from medeival swords, suits of armor (over 400!), and crossbows, to cannons, mortars, and assault rifles from the past two centuries. Not MY cup of tea but impressive none the less.
Biel Gate (Bieltor) is the port to Western side of the town. It has a clock, of course. I did not check if it shows the right time.
Basel Gate is the eastern entrance of the old town. It was built 1504 - 35. It is a mighty city gate with strong fortifications to both sides.
The Zeughaus (arsenal) was built 1610 - 14 in Baroque style. Nowadays it is home of the armour museum. It is claimed to be the second biggest armour collection in Europe!
THIS WAS THE CLOSEST GATE, THE BIEL GATE TO OUR HOTEL, THE KRONE. THE HOTEL WAS NOT IN THE OLD TOWN BUT ADJACENT TO IT.