Bern is located in north western Switzerland. This incredibly beautiful city is the capital of the country and the largest settlement in the fourth largest country in the alpine canton. The city lies on the beautiful River Aare, which is a left tributary of the Rhine and which surrounds Bern on three sides by a water bag. The Swiss capital is not as densely populated as most European capitals. The population Bern is 128 041 people. The town has a profoundly beautiful old part, which is included in the list of World Cultural heritage sites of UNESCO in 1983. Bern extends in a radius of 12 km in all directions around the old city.
The name of the city Bern comes from the word bear. Brown predators are the symbol of the Swiss capital and in relation to its local origin rather tell an intriguing story. In 1191 Duke Berchtold V of Zähringen is entrained in pursuit of a bear and seamlessly reached the area which is surrounded on three sides by the River Aare.
The German nobleman, of course, managed to shoot the wild animal, but while going around the local nature remained fascinated by its beauty. As a result, he decided to start in these places a city that was named Bern. Entrusted with the task was Kuno von Bubenberg who has hewn wood and used wood for building Bern. In 1405 the city suffered a devastating fire and was built almost entirely anew, but this time the buildings were built of sandstone. In the 16th and 17th century they re-raise the buildings and reconstruct Bern.
In 1218, the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire - Frederick II recognized Bern as a free city. Berthold died without heirs. In 1353 Bern joined the young Swiss Confederation and became the leading city. Bern became the largest city-state north of the Alps, having included in its composition Aarau in 1415 and Vaud - in 1536, as well as some other smaller territories. In 1798 Bern was occupied by French troops during the French revolutionary wars and lost much of its territories. In 1831 the city became the capital of Canton Bern and in 1848 was named administrative capital of Switzerland.
Founded in the 12th century in the hills of the River Aare, the Swiss capital Bern today combines a wide range of typical historic architectural features. In Bern, you can see the 13th century arcades and 16th-century fountains. Most of the architectural masterpieces today are rebuilt, because of the large-scale restoration in the 18th century. They were not removed and complement the original charm of the city.
Besides the bear, which appears on the crest of the city for the first time in 1224 another famous part of Bern is the Clock Tower. It stands in the old town center and is the official reference for Bernse time. It is also the starting point for measuring all distances in Canton. In its main eastern side, the clock has a complex astronomical and astrological mechanism that shows 24 hours a day.
It also provides information for 12-hour daylight, the position of the sun in the zodiac, the day of the week, date and lunar phases, plus the rise of the sun above the horizon during this time of year.
Today visitors Bern able to climb the clock tower and enjoy the beautiful view from the top of the addition, a familiarization tour of the interior of this symbol of Bern is also quite useful. Shortly before the onset of every hour, from inside the clock appear mechanical pieces - dancing jester, Chronos with his hourglass, a cock crow and a parade of bears.