Basel is located on the banks of the Rhine in a picturesque valley between the Jura of the Black Forest. The city is a major industrial and commercial center of Switzerland. Due to the proximity of the river, trade has always been brisk here, and intercultural ties have been actively developed. In the 15th century, Pope Pius II founded the University of Basel, which made the city one of the important centers of European education.
The main attractions are located in the historic center around the Market Square. There are convenient hiking trails for tourists. While walking along them, you can fully enjoy the beauty of urban architecture. Basel is also famous for its incredible number of interesting museums, which store the treasures of world art.
What to see and where to go in Basel?
The most interesting and beautiful places for walking. Photos and a short description.
Basel City Hall
The first city council building adorned Basel's central square in 1290, but in the middle of the 14th century it collapsed after an earthquake. The new town hall was erected in 1513 of red brick in the late Gothic style. Later, an outbuilding and a tower were added to the building. Today, the city hall and the authorities of the canton of Basel-Stadt sit in the town hall. The walls of one of the halls were painted by the great artist Hans Holbein (the Younger).
The history of the temple began in the 7th century with a small wooden church. In the 10th century, at the behest of Bishop Adalbert II, a stone building began to be erected. Until 1500, the cathedral was destroyed and rebuilt several times, so only a small part of the architecture of the Early Middle Ages has survived. In 1529, as a result of the victory of the supporters of the Reformation, the temple passed into the hands of the Protestants and since then it has been considered Calvinist.
The fountain was created by the sculptor Jean Tinguely, who worked in an unusual manner of "metamechanics". The construction consists of several metal figures made from the props that survived the fire of the local theater. The behavior of the fountain is notable for its unexpectedness, as well as the work of its creator. It can suddenly splash people passing by or release an impressive cloud of small droplets into the atmosphere.
Jean Tinguely Museum
J. Tinguely is a sculptor, innovator and passionate admirer of kinetic art. The museum named after him exhibits amazing creations that the master created over 40 years of his career. Almost all the exhibits move, creak, buzz and seem to be quite "alive". Through his creations, J. Tinguely tried to draw people's attention to the problem of humanizing machines and mechanizing man.
Basel Art Museum
The museum houses the largest collection of paintings in Switzerland. It is also known for exhibiting an outstanding collection of Holbeins. In addition to paintings by representatives of this famous family, in the gallery you can admire the paintings of Van Gogh, Cezanne, Gauguin, Rembrandt and Rubens. On the second floor of the museum, works of art of the 20th century are presented, among which there are works by Dali and Picasso.
Museum located in the building of a former paper manufactory. The factory opened over 500 years ago. At that time, it provided almost all of Western Europe with paper. During a walk through the museum, tourists will see a carefully recreated interior, printing presses and other equipment. At some exhibits, visitors themselves can try to print something using medieval technology.
Museum "World of Toys"
The Basel Toy Museum has unique collections of dolls, teddy bears (there are more than 6,000 of them!), toy houses, furniture and dishes. Interesting exhibits come here from all over the world. The meeting will be of interest to families with children and just fans of the "toy" theme. Little visitors can move around the halls on horses equipped with wheels.
Museum of Natural History
The Basel Natural Science Museum has an exhibition that tells about the history of our planet. There are skeletons of fossil animals and samples of rare minerals. The geological past of the Earth, the diversity of its flora and fauna, the secrets of the processes taking place in the depths are revealed to visitors. Much can be learned about the formation of the earth's landscape and atmosphere.
Basel Museum of Antiquities
The collection is entirely devoted to the ancient art of the Mediterranean. Artifacts belonging to Egyptian, Etruscan, Greek, Roman and Middle Eastern cultures are exhibited here. Copies of famous ancient sculptures are presented in a separate room. The museum was founded in 1961 at the expense of sponsors-philanthropists. Its funds were formed at the expense of donated private collections.
Part of the collection is located in the building of the Gothic church of the 8th century in the city center - a picturesque architectural monument of the Early Middle Ages. The temple survived two large-scale restorations in the 19th and 20th centuries. Precious items from the Basel Cathedral, collections of tapestries, coins, weapons and furniture are stored here. One of the branches of the museum is occupied by the House near the Cherry Orchard, a city palace built in the 18th century.
St. Paul's Church
Temple on the banks of the Rhine, built in the neo-Romanesque style at the beginning of the 20th century. The front facade of the building is decorated with a rose-shaped stained-glass window, the triangular roof is crowned with a statue of the Archangel Michael with a defeated dragon. The dial is located on the high bell tower. Despite the fact that the temple was built relatively recently by European standards, it looks like a real medieval church.
Church of Saint Elizabeth
The first Protestant church built in Switzerland after the victory of the Reformation. The church was built with funds that, after his death, the wealthy citizen K. Merian bequeathed to Basel. There was so much money that the authorities did not stint on expensive materials. The grandiose spire of the church bell tower is larger than the tower of the cathedral.
In the XIV-XV centuries, the gate was part of a fortified wall that encircled Basel and served as a reliable defense against enemies. The structure consists of two round side towers and a central square tower with a pyramidal roof. On the facade there are figures of the Virgin Mary and the apostles, as well as lions clutching the city coat of arms in their paws. In past centuries, merchants from Alsace entered Basel through the Spalentor gate.
An urban skyscraper in the form of an incomplete stepped pyramid, diluting the cityscape of Basel with its futuristic look. It impresses with its impressive size and unusual design for this area. The tower houses the headquarters of the pharmaceutical company Roche Holding. There is also a museum and an observation deck in the building, from where you can see the surroundings. The Roche Tower is currently the tallest building in Switzerland.
Basel City Station. Interestingly, most of it belongs to Germany. The station is operated by Deutsche Bahn AG, a German railway company. There was even a checkpoint inside the station before the abolition of the borders between Switzerland and the European Union. The platforms, aprons and part of the tunnel are in Germany, while the shops in the lobby use the Swiss franc.
Another "not quite Swiss station" in Basel. The fact is that part of the station is owned by France and is operated by SNCF - French Railways. Basel SBB serves all types of routes: suburban, domestic and international. The building was built in 1954. After 50 years, it was completely reconstructed, giving neo-baroque features to the facade. Basel SBB is considered one of the busiest stations in Switzerland.
St. Jakob-Park Stadium
The modern arena, which hosted matches of the European Football Championship in 2008. Also in 2016, the final match of the Europa League between Liverpool and Sevilla took place here. The stadium was built in 2001 to replace the old Yoggeli. Specially for the beginning of the European Championship 2008, St. Jakob Park was reconstructed, equipping it with more modern equipment. Today, the stands can accommodate more than 38,000 people.
Botanical Garden of the University of Basel
The Basel Garden is one of the oldest in the world. It appeared at the end of the 16th century. At first, exclusively medicinal plants were planted in it for research purposes, and later decorative specimens began to appear. By the 19th century, the garden occupied a vast territory on Schönbeinstrasse. Excursions are organized for visitors to the garden, children are offered a themed walk accompanied by a guide.
Zoo "Lange Erlen"
The first inhabitants of the zoo were a pair of black swans, which were brought to Basel from Australia in 1871. Until the 2000s, only birds and deer lived here, after 2007 the diversity of species has expanded significantly. "Lange Erlen" is part of an extensive recreational area, which includes forest land and meadows, located within the city limits of Basel. Local underground sources provide residents with 50% of drinking water.
The main city zoo, located on 12 hectares of land in the very center of Basel. Animal enclosures are designed in such a way that the animals themselves decide when to show themselves to people and when to hide from prying eyes. Because of this, visitors spend more time in the menagerie and get real pleasure from observing four-legged animals. Basel Zoo is considered one of the best in Europe.