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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.
This is where the heart of Switzerland beats: the biggest banks, two luxurious hotels and the traditional café "Sprüngli" surround this square that consists mainly of a big streetcar station. The place is scarcely more than a traffic crossing without cars - just pedestrians and streetcars. You can distinguish the exclusivity of this place by the wardrobe of the female passers-by and the volume of high-class shops nearby. The square thus represents the real character of Zurich: a little bit bourgeois and conservative like the "gnoms of Zurich".
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 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.
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.
Built in 1907, the Urania Sternwarte is the oldest public observatory in Switzerland, and is maintained and operated today by the public university. Scientists at the observatory use a 30-centimeter (12-inch) refractor telescope to study the moon and planets, and also occasionally observe Binary stars, star clusters and galactic nebulae. Located halfway between Bahnhofstrasse and the Limmat River, the observatory offers views of the town, Lake Zurich, and the Alps. Public shows are given in German, but English- or French-speaking groups may request a tour in their own language.
This Late Renaissance building was completed in 1698 and was the third town hall to stand here on the Limmatquai. Now it is the only building apart from the Helm House and the Water Church to stand directly beside the Limmat on this side of the river. A Rococo tower stove dating back to 1763 and the Baroque hall, which is decorated with an ornate stucco ceiling and oil paintings, are particularly interesting.