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This biennial medieval festival is all about fun, music, ancient culture, theatrical acts, handicrafts and more. High energy is on display in lively dances, sword fights, and acrobatic acts. Food-stalls lure visitors with aromas of fresh pastries, homemade wines, meat preparations, and other treats. Held at various venues, the medieval heritage is celebrated with gusto.
The Fraumünster is famed for its incredibly colorful stained-glass windows designed by Marc Chagall. The church was, however, built a long time before the window was created and was a present from Ludwig des Deutschen (literally, “Ludwig of the Germans”) to his daughter, who was the first Abbess of the ladies' chapter. Not only did she rule over extensive territory, she also had a private mint; however, only the cloister and church with its romantic choir and Gothic nave were spared the wrath of the Reformation. The tower on the left-hand side of the building was erected in 1732 and presents a refreshing antithesis to the nearby twin towers of the Grossmünster.
Recently declared the world's 7th most expensive shopping street, Zurich's Bahnhofstrasse easily holds its own compared with its peers in New York, Hong Kong, Paris and London. Blue-and-white trams whisk shoppers along this mile-long and mainly car-free stretch between the main train station and the lake. Bahnhofstrasse is where well-heeled bankers and perfectly-coiffed ladies shop for designer clothing and gold watches. However, it's also where denim-clad teens bag the latest trends. Elegant department stores worth a visit include Jelmoli and Globus, which is separated from Bahnhofstrasse by a small park. Numerous restaurants and Cafés feature outdoor seating, ideal for observing fellow shoppers and trying to guess what's in their bags!
The influence of Roman culture on the city of Zurich can be viewed at Thermengasse. Roman thermal baths dating back to the 3rd century AD (they actually date way back to the 1st century, but were subsequently remodeled) were discovered here in 1983, and have since been excavated so the public can marvel at their uniquely artistic designs and structure. They can be viewed around the clock, but only through a protective iron grating.
The winding lanes and beautiful historical buildings of the Augustinergasse street in Zurich have a unique, lovely charm and remind you of the fabled Diagon Alley from the Harry Potter novels. Dating back to the Middle ages, it is home to the Saint Peter Church, Münzplatz, Glockengasse, Augustinerkirche and many other heritage buildings. The colorful wooden bay windows, quaint coffee houses, restaurants and boutiques are highly popular among tourists.
The Schanzengraben reclaims the perimeter of Zurich's original defensive bulwarks, turning the area into a lovely tree-shaded walkway that subverts the once-imposing fortifications of Altstadt. What was once a prohibitive moat is now a tranquil canal, boats and swimmers bobbing easily in the still water that reflects the brickwork of antique fortress walls. A haven from the bustle of urban Zurich, Schanzengraben is the perfect destination for a peaceful walk through green pathways and nearby office workers enjoying a leisurely lunch.
Housed in a historic guild house of the same name built in the 1348 for nobility, the restaurant assumes much of the character afforded by this majestic piece of history. The dining room with its elegant wooden ceiling, stone walls and wooden windows create an exquisite ambiance for enjoying your meal. The menu concentrates on seasonal specialties crafted to perfection by the chef. In sharp contrast to the dining room is the Ruden bar with an extreme modern, but elegant interiors. Head out for a relaxing drink after your meal.