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SWITZERLAND
: ZÜRICH

The town of Zürich is the largest city in Switzerland with a population of about 1 million inhabitants (the greater urban area). Zürich is the country’s main commercial centre, and , like Geneva, a city with an international vocation.Zürich is situated where the river Limmat leaves Lake Zürich and is surrounded by wooded hills including the Zürichberg and the Ütliberg.  

In Roman times, Turicum, as Zürich was called then, was a tax-collecting point for goods entering the imperial province of Raetia by river. A Carolingian castle was built on the site of the Roman castle by Charlemagne’s grandson, Louis the German. He also founded the Fraumünster abbey in 853 for his daughter Hildegard. He endowed the Benedictine convent with the lands of Zürich, Uri, and the Albis forest, and granted the convent immunity, placing it under his direct authority. In 1045, the convent received  the right to hold markets, collect tolls, and mint coins from King Henry III. In this way, the convent held the municipal power over the city. However, the political power of the convent slowly waned in the fourteenth century, beginning with the establishment of the guild laws in 1336 by Rudolf Brun, who also became the first independent mayor who was not assigned by the abbess.

Zürich joined the Swiss confederation  as the fifth member in 1351. Zürich was expelled from the confederation in 1440 due to a war with the other member states over the territory of Toggenburg. Zürich was defeated in 1446, and re-admitted to the confederation in 1450. 

The protestant reformer Zwingli started the Swiss reformation. He lived there from 1484 until his death in 1531.
In 1839, the city had to yield to the demands of its rural subjects, following the Züriputsch of 6 September. Most of the ramparts built in the 17th centuries were torn down, without ever having been sieged, to allay rural concerns over the city's hegemony.From 1847, the Spanisch-Brötli-Bahn, the first railway on Swiss territory, connected Zürich with Baden, putting the Zürich Main Station at the origin of the Swiss rail network. The present building of the Hauptbahnhof (chief railway station) dates to 1871. 

The Fraumünster was fully rennovated in 2004. During this period the installed scaffolding went above the tip of the tower allowing a unique and exceptional 360° panoramic view of Zürich.


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