Old City of Berne

Bern, Switzerland

The Old City of Berne, federal city of Switzerland and capital of the canton of Berne, is located on the Swiss plateau between the Jura and the Alps. Founded in the 12th century according to an innovative foundation plan, and located on a hill surrounded by the River Aar, Berne has experienced an expansion in several stages since its foundation. This development remains visible in its urban structure, mainly tributary to the medieval establishment and its clearly defined elements: well-defined wide streets, used for the market, a regular division of built sections, subdivided into narrow and deep parcels, an advanced infrastructure for water transportation, impressive buildings for the most part dating from the 18th century mainly built from sandy limestone, with their system of arcades and the facades of the houses supported by arches. Public buildings for secular and religious authorities were always located at the periphery, a principle also respected in the 19th century during the construction of the large public monuments confirming the function of Berne as the federal city from 1848.

Berne developed along the lines of exceptionally coherent planning principles. The medieval establishment of Berne, reflecting the slow conquest of the site by urban extensions from the 12th to the 14th century, makes Berne an impressive example of the High Middle Ages with regard to the foundation of a city, figuring in the European arena among the most significant of urban planning creations. The features of Berne were modified to reflect the modern era: in the 16th century, picturesque fountains were introduced to the city and restoration work was carried out on the towers and walls and the cathedral was completed. In the 17th century, many patrician houses were built of sandy limestone, and towards the end of the 18th century, a large part of the constructed zones underwent transformation. However, this continual modernization, right through to the present day, was carried out observing the need to conserve the medieval urban structure of the city. The Old City of Berne is a unique example demonstrating a constant renewal of the built substance while respecting the original urban planning concept, and presenting a variation of the late Baroque on a theme of High Middle Ages. 

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Address

Kramgasse 39, Bern, Switzerland
See all sites in Bern

Details

Founded: 12th century
Category: Historic city squares, old towns and villages in Switzerland

More Information

whc.unesco.org

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Yves Krähenbühl (8 months ago)
It's quite difficult to form an objective opinion over the appearance and atmosphere if you're used to it. I would say it's the largest medieval city centre in Switzerland (that's actually still the city centre nowadays (what gives a nice contrast-y look from modern shop interiors and signs on hundreds of years old sandstone)) Anyhow, Chinese tourists said it's like Disney Land for them, and they where astonished that people actually live here. That's fairly the best description I can come up with.
Berenika Koźbiał (10 months ago)
Bern Old Town is great, charming and nice to have a walk. On the day of Onion Market is full of people from early morning and you can see and buy beautiful and different onions and try some specials. Its worth to get up early !!!
Tommy Hansen (10 months ago)
Certainly a place with a lot of "good feeling". Probably better to visit in summer or winter
sagar shah (12 months ago)
Nice place to visit. It's just walking distance from train station. Clear water and cold breeze. Will give you fresh atmosphere and just next to it its Bearenpark. One can see live Bear roaming around its vicinity. Good to watch Animal so close.
Dan Jones (13 months ago)
Amazing experience walking up and down the streets of old town. Packed with restaurants, shops and it’s all connected with numerous tram stops for easy connections.One of our favourite cities in Switzerland the old city is full of cobblestone streets and quaint buildings. An extensive selection of designer brand shops with many specialty stores selling Swiss made products and souvenirs
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