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Built in the 14th century, the towers of the Rathaus or Town Hall, dominate the skyline of Basel. Through the centuries, this building underwent a series of renovations being expanded and painted over by the artist Hans Bock. The present day Rathaus has mixed elements of Art Nouveau style and the Renaissance Style. An often photographed building, this place is crowded at anytime with curious tourists and passersby.
The foundations for the Kunstmuseum were laid when the city of Basel purchased the Amerbachsche Kabinett. This private collection, which boasted works by Holbein among others, was the world's first publicly owned one. Work by Witz, Schongauer, Cranach, Grünewald and others also displays the renaissance's rich artistic traditions. 19th-century art is also featured with Arnold Böcklin's work at the forefront. He did, after all come from Basel. Marble steps take visitors to the museum's upper floors. 20th-century art by greats such as Leger, Braque and Picasso can be found here as can abstract expressionist and pop art pieces. The building itself is almost cubic. Situated near the Wettsteingbridge, it also houses a library and copper-plate engraving cabinet.
Zoologischer Garten is one of the largest and most popular zoos in the world. With extensive areas and a large variety of animals and plants, this place stands as a pride of the city. Also on store are a range of tour programs which attract large crowds. A large share of visitors here is students from various educational institutes. The diversity of animal species and the quality facilities offered here makes this place distinct. Call ahead or check the website for more details.
The expansion of the city in the 19th century meant the end of the medieval walls and its seven entrances. However, the most beautiful of them, the Spalentor, remains. Erected in the 14th century, this gate still possesses a very impressive oak portcullis. Just inside lies a copy of the city's customs decree of 1795, a great piece of history. The gate is adorned with beautiful glass tiles and humorous 15th-century figures. The originals can be viewed in the Museum of History.
Emanating from the southeastern Swiss Alps, the mighty and meandering Rhine is one of the most important rivers, not just in Switzerland, but to surrounding countries as well. Voyaging through the center of the city of Basel, it adds to the charm of this old town by providing magnificent backdrops and a marine respite to this landlocked country. The High Rhine, which flows out of Lake Constance, cradles the celestial Rhine Falls, forming an otherworldly canvas of luminescence. Bridges like Vorderrhein, Hinterrhein and Alpenrhein loom over this robust, generous river, which is further ornamented by a melange of canals as it passes by forest-clad hills and lush carpets streaked in green. Today, many power-based industries are based upon the Upper Rhine. This river is much loved by its locals not just for the beauty and aesthetic pleasure it lends, but also because it is indeed a magnanimous source of life.