The Lindenhof is a moraine hill and a public square in the historic center of Zürich. It is the site of the Roman and Carolingian era Kaiserpfalz around which the city has historically grown. The hilltop area includes prehistoric, Roman and medieval remains.

Prehistory

At the flat shore of Lake Zurich were Neolithic and Bronze Age (4500 to 850 BC) lakeside settlements. Lindenhof was largely surrounded by water and therefore an optimal location for early fortified settlements. Middle bronze age (1500 BC) artefacts and remains of a Celtic Oppidum from the 1st century BC (La Tène culture) have been found on excavations.

Roman Vicus

In 15 BC, Augustus's stepsons Drusus and Tiberius integrated the territory on the left side of Lake Zurich into the Roman provinces Raetia and Germania Superior. Several stone buildings from the Roman period were located on and around the hill. It was part of the small vicus Turicum, located on both sides of the Limmat and connected by a Roman bridge located near the present Rathausbrücke.

Turicum, Zurich's Roman name and possibly also its Celtic name, is engraved on a 2nd-century tombstone of a little boy. The tombstone is located in the Swiss National Museum; a copy is integrated in the Lindenhof wall at Pfalzgasse, leading to St. Peter church.

Using the topography, the Roman military built a citadel on top of the hill in the years of the Roman emperor Valentinian I (364–375), to defend migrations from the North by the Alamanni. It was 4500 square meters large, and it was fitted with 10 towers and two meter wide walls.

Medieval castle and graveyard

During the middle ages, the hilltop leveled fort became the retaining wall and gave the Lindenhof terrace a form similar to its current form. The remains of the Roman camp were used as the center of the later fortification of the historical center of Zürich. Significant parts of the lime mortar and ancient castle wall were integrated into the town houses around the Lindenhof and in a Kaiserpfalz (broken in 1218), which served as a place of festivities, including the engagement of the German emperor Henry IV with Bertha von Turin on Christmas in 1055. The Roman castle's remains existed until the early medieval age: a Carolingian, later Ottonian Pfalz (1054) was built on its remains. This Kaiserpfalz was a long building with a chapel on the eastern side of the fortified hill; it is last mentioned in 1172, and it was derelict by 1218, when its remains were scavenged for construction of the city walls and stone masonry on private houses.

In 1937, archaeologists found graves of late medieval children and adults that were oriented from the east to the west. In the year 1384, a chapel on the Lindenhof was mentioned, but no remains have been found.

Modern public park

Following the demolition of the former royal residence, the hill – the only public park within the city walls – became an area for public life and relaxation, with dense tree vegetation, stone tables, crossbow stands, and bowling and chess; the latter are still very popular in modern times.

The Hedwig fountain (1688) was sculpted by Duke Albrecht I. of Habsburg. It depicts the legend of the siege of Zurich in 1292 with a helmeted sculpture of the leader of the Zurich women. Under baroque influence, Lindenhof was converted in 1780 to a strictly geometrical park.

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Details

Founded: 1500 BC
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Switzerland

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Rebecca Atoline (4 months ago)
An oasis of peace right in the midst of the old town. With swings, and 3 'chess boards' on the ground. There are a couple of benches scattered around the grounds plus enough trees for extra shade. Provides a good view of the river and the Niederdorf.
Cristina Herrera (4 months ago)
It's a bit of a hike to get there, so wear comfortable shoes. We went there in the morning and could spend some time almost by ourselves. Went back before sunset the next day and it was packed but still could get some good pics.
Chris Comparativo (4 months ago)
Gives you a view of Zurich's historic district. It was a comfortable hike up the hill with several shops along the way. While we were there, they had a festival & we were surrounded with yummy food. A must visit while in Zurich.
Dory Abelman (5 months ago)
Nice park overlooking Zurich around the river. You can see people walking, the tram, festivities, and watch the water. It is a relatively large park and there are many places to sit. The locals like to go there too to relax or just for a walk.
Amanuel Grunder (5 months ago)
A very nice place to enjoy Zurich from the rooftops. A nice fountain and covered with trees. It's serene. In the back you can also play chess.
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