Paris has the Eiffel Tower, New York the Statue of Liberty, and Geneva the Jet d'Eau. Resting at the convergence of Lake Geneva and the Rhone, Jet d'Eau is one of the most recognizable emblems of the city. The original fountain was installed in the late-19th Century not far from the current location, where the fountain's ambitious plumes soar as if to embrace the sky. Although built for practical purposes, this fountain has now come to command much appreciation for its ability to augment Geneva's cityscape, and to leave visitors gazing in awe at its sheer glory. With its gushing waters soaring to the height of 140 meters (459 feet) every second, Jet d'Eau has become an epitome of dynamism to the people of Geneva. An engineering feat par excellence, the fountain metamorphoses into a dazzling, luminescent wonder come night.
Having aged gracefully over more than 850 years, this magnificent cathedral lies nestled in Geneva's Old Town. Its interiors set alight by chandeliers, this cathedral boasts ornate chapels like the Chapel of Maccabee adorned with Gothic frescoes, and side aisles bearing tomb stones of various luminaries of the church. In addition, its majestic capitals draw influences from the Romanesque and Gothic styles of architecture, and are some of the largest in the whole of Switzerland. Not only is this cathedral a solemn dedication to Saint Pierre, but it is also a stirring emblem of Roman Protestantism. A steep climb through a labyrinthine spiral staircase leads to two imposing towers which serve as an outstanding vantage point over the shimmering blue Geneva Lake, charming brown-roofed buildings and the iconic Jet d'Eau. North of this grand structure lies the extensive International Museum of Reformation, which is a stirring insight into theology, and what life looked like after reformation.
With a pleasant combination of art galleries, bistros, bric-a-brac and antique shops, the Old City area is popular with tourists and Geneva's younger crowd. You can easily mix shopping with a bit of sightseeing in the area. Art galleries show a surprising range of styles from ancient Chinese and Japanese pots, primitive to impressionism, and all the while in attractive, bright spaces. While the medley of tiny shops makes the Old City particularly appealing for impulse purchases, a large department store in this area provides a good selection of necessities. Less hectic than other parts of the city, it is the perfect place to browse at a leisurely pace and then enjoy a cheese fondue or other regional cuisine. Pause to view the splendid Hôtel de Ville and Maison Tavel along the way. Shoppers can also admire the beautiful architecture and charming ancient streets that beg to be explored.
In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson chose Geneva as the headquarters of the League of Nations, predecessor to the United Nations. Construction on the Palais des Nations, or Palace of Nations, began a decade later and continued until 1938. Peacefully nestled in heart of the picturesque Parc de l'Ariana, the Palais de Nations has been home to the United Nations Office at Geneva since 1946. As its name suggests, the Palace of Nations dedicates itself to aiding in global peace, security, human rights, disarmament, humanitarian aid, and economic and social development. It holds one of the most important international conference centers in the world, numbering over 7000 sessions per year. The chambers of this courtly ivory-white edifice are a place of iconic historic negotiations. Frequented by hundreds of thousands of delegates every year, the Palace of Nations is a striking torchbearer of diplomacy and world peace.
This tall and architecturally ornate monument, which stands out on the right bank of the lake, comes as a surprise. It is the tomb of the eccentric Charles II, Duke of Brunswick who spent the last three years of his life in Geneva. During his death, he gave away his entire wealth to the city of Geneva, but insisted that a mausoleum be built, to preserve his body. Constructed according to the wishes of Charles II, the Brunswick Monument is a replication of Verona's 14th-century Scaliger Tombs.
Serving the Catholic community of Geneva, the Basilica of Notre-Dame, locally known as Basilique Notre-Dame, is an architectural splendour. Constructed in the 1850s, this Catholic basilica was erected over the ruins of a Protestant church. This religious structure was designed by renowned French architect, Alexandre Grigny, in the neo-Gothic style. The central chapel features a pristine white statue of the Immaculate that was presented to the city by Pope Pius IX. Basilica of Notre-Dame is a stop on the Way of St.James pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela.
This beautiful old synagogue was built in 1859 when the Genevan government finally allowed minorities to build religious buildings within the city walls. Beth Yaakov or La Grande Synagogue, as it is popularly called, has been listed as a historical monument and was recently renovated according to its original design. Its style is Byzantine, it has a large dome and its facade is striped pale orange and white. Services are held according to Ashkenazi rituals.
Fontaine de Bel-Air is located at the junction of Rue de la Cite and Rue de la Confédération. This beautiful fountain has been a meeting point for all the locals, and a popular attraction of tourists in the city. The marvelous architecture of the fountain showcases a dragon faucet pouring water into the pond. The fountain is known to be visible even from a plane.
Established in the 15th Century, Geneva's Town Hall, also known as the Hôtel de Ville, has been serving as the city's political seat for over five centuries. The Alabama Room, within this magnificent structure, was where the Geneva Convention was signed in 1864, and also where the animosity between Great Britain and United States of American was resolved, making it internationally famous. A unique feature of this Town Hall is its ramp, that runs from the ground floor to the top stories. In the olden days, this ramp was traversed on horseback. Nestled in the historic center of Geneva, the town hall is surrounded by monumental sites such as the Musée international de la Réforme, Reformation Wall, Promenade des Bastions and St.Peter's Cathedral among others.
Built in 1871, Uni bastions is a prominent architectural landmark located on the campus of Université de Genève. The main building features various libraries, class rooms and canteens. Most notably, Uni Bastions is the home of the faculty of Protestant Theology and the Faculty of Arts. The historic edifice pays homage to the university's colorful past, and is located at a scenic spot facing the Reformation Wall, surrounded by a verdant park.