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General information about Zürich

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What is the name of the Swiss capital? In the case of more than 50% of all people, the answer comes like a shot: Zurich, of course. Some start to brood for a long time about this question, as they heard somewhere that Zurich is not the capital of Switzerland. Than it should be Geneva - of course, Geneva is permanently heard on the radio or on TV, there is the UN, or not? Again, the answer is wrong, as the actual capital of Switzerland is the little picturesque city Bern.

Why do so many people think that Zurich is the capital of Switzerland? Well, Zurich the biggest city of Switzerland, has the biggest airport of Switzerland and is a kind of economic centre of Switzerland. Here, the big banks are established, insurance companies and engineering companies. In Zurich, the tourism flourishes, visitors of all over the world come to Zurich. Insofar, Zurich (also among swiss people) is practically considered as the secret capital of Switzerland. Which American knows that in former times, Bonn whas the capital of Germany and not Berlin?

Some facts about Zurich

The kanton Zurich with its same named capital is situated at the very north of Switzerland. From Germany (Constance at the Lake Constance), Zurich is accessible in less than one hour; from Constance to Zurich there are approximately 70 km.

Map

The city Zurich has a little more than 350.000 inhabitants and therewith it is the biggest city of Switzerland. But around Zurich there are numerous little places and cities that partly overflow in Zurich. This is the reason why in the whole megalopolis of Zurich there are much more than half a million inhabitants. Zurich is situated at a height of a little more than 400 metres. As everywhere in Switzerland, there are also in Zurich mountains and/or hills; the highest point of Zurich is the Ütliberg with 871 metres.

Once, Zurich was the roman customs station and not until the 10 th century it had the town privilege. Since 1218, Zurich is a free imperial city. In the 19th century, Zurich succeeded in ascending to be the traffic- economic- and trade - center of Switzerland. Only in the ascent to be the capital of Switzerland, the city never succeeded.

View from the Quai-Bridge over the Limmat to the north

As Zurich builds a traffic junction in Switzerland, the city is very well accessible from everywhere. The big airport Zurich Kloten is only at 11 km distance from the city centre. The main station is situated right in the city centre, as one is used from german big cities. The motorways of all directions do not end until shortly before the city centre. Zurich is easy to access even by vessel, but only from the other end of the Zurich Lake.

In the south of the city, the Zurich Lake starts, the third biggest lake within Swiss borders. The Limmat flows through Zurich, but not into the Zurich Lake but out of it and into the Rhine. A further little river of Zurich is the Sihl that embogues into the Limmat.

Hotels in Zurich

In Zurich there are - like it should be for a big city - numerous hotels in the city centre and further outside. This is the reason why it is possible to go to Zurich without having to book an hotel previously. But one should know where to find cheap hotels. The first hotel I entered in Zurich, the price was 350 CHF per night for a double room, thus nearly 250 €; this was, of course, shocking. Those who like such expensive and posh hotels should look at the western shore of the Limmat and/or the main station street (Bahnhofstraße). There, one finds hotels like the Gotthard, the Storchen or the Schweizerhof.

At the eastern shore of the Limmat one can spend the night at affordable prices, either straight at the Limmat quay or at the parallel street, the Niederhof street (Niederdorf-Straße). There, one finds one little hotel after the next one. There, one can also stop briefly the car and drop in to ask for the price and room availability. Hotel Limmathof at the Limmat quay

Once I spend a night at the Hotel Limmathof. For 150 CHF, thus almost 100 € I got a clean and simple double room with shower and WC. Not a bit of luxury, but the room was clean, the bed was comfortable and the bathroom ok. For breakfast I got rolls and croissants with marmelade and butter; with coffee or tea and orange juice. So much for... - simple but practical. It was not a posh buffet-breakfast, but one could eat and drink as much as wanted and it was good.

Therefore, I lived in the city centre, straight at the centre, where at nights there was hustle and buslte. I probably could have lived a little cheaper in a more outside place; but as in Zurich the public transportation only works up to midnight, one is very limited in going out.

In the Limmathof I found a very friendly and helpful staff, that - as it is said about Swiss people - at the evening became a litlle inactive, but besides they really took care of the needs of the guests. The check in and check out was fast and informal; it was simply one night without any extras. Here is the address, telephone- and faxnumner of the hotel:

Hotel Limmathof
Limmatquai 142
CH-8023 Zürich
Tel.: 01 261 42 20
Fax: 01 262 02 17

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