Amid the city's bustle lies a serene sanctum complete with tree-lined walkways and the ornate Hedwig Fountain. This moraine hill-top space is a picturesque canvas and a nationally significant Swiss heritage site. Evidence of early activity dates back to the 2nd Century, and it is believed that the former castle remained standing through the 6th Century. Lindenhof also became a center of political activity and significant historic events. Home to the antiquated Lindenhof quarter, Lindenhof hill is where a synergy of history, culture, and natural beauty takes center stage. What today stands as an open verdant space is an erstwhile Celtic settlement harboring a Roman fortress, the ruins of which are still visible today. This scenic, emerald-hued expanse affords sweeping views of Old Town's charming roofed houses, the meandering waters of the Limmat River, and even the distant, mighty Swiss Alps.
The Predigerkirche in Zurich is a beautiful protestant church with spectacular architecture. It is was built somewhere in the 13th Century and was run by Dominican monks but was turned into a protestant church after the Zwingli Reformation. Besides the wooden church pews, the side aisle has a library and a seating area with chairs for lunch that is served every Sunday. Almost every evening the church is a venue for Christian concerts.
Though this train station is an impressive building of its own, not to mention a major thoroughfare for countless travelers every day, it may be better known for the neighborhood that has grown around it. Bahnhofstrasse is now synonymous with the high-class shopping center in this cosmopolitan city and has a lot of traffic moving through the station. As you move through Hauptbahnhof, take a minute to stop and look around. The architecture is brilliant here. A great place to orient yourself with the city, there are many tourist-information desks and kiosks that offer tours to the wandering visitors.
The Zürich Zoological Garden is hailed as a cultural institution of the city and is one of the best and the most diverse zoos in all of Europe. It boasts over 2200 animals and 260 species, coming from all over the world. The rare species found here include frogs, birds, and other wildlife from New Caledonia and South Africa, which are normally only found in their native habitats. They also offer a wide range of classes and interactive events aimed at educating the public about the needs of many endangered animals. Be sure to stop by and experience a whole new tropical side of the city.
A venerated cathedral made memorable by its imposing twin towers, Grossmünster is among the best-known landmarks in Zurich. Construction on the Romanesque-style structure began in the early 12th Century and continued for roughly 110 years. Legend reckons that the church was built as a monastery on the graves of Zurich's patron saints Felix and Regula and today proudly stands guard over the city and its spectacular landscape. Other significant architectural features apart from the towers include magnificent bronze doors, an 11th-century crypt, and grotesque-ornamented capitals that top the medieval columns of the grand south portal. Besides its architectural glory, the Grossmünster is also revered for its historical significance as the site where religious leader Huldrych Zwingli launched the Protestant Reformation in Switzerland during the 16th Century. The cathedral has since witnessed a handful of modifications, such as the stained-glass windows added in 1932 by Augusto Giacometti.
Once an all-women abbey for those of aristocratic lineage, the Fraumünster Church commands dignity and a place of pride in Zurich. Perhaps one of the most striking features of this church is the troupe of magnificent, diversely colored stained glass windows crafted by renowned artists Marc Chagall and Augusto Giacometti. Another such recognizable gem of the church is its soaring tower, which was built in 1732, standing today in stark contrast to the twin towers of the nearby Grossmünster. This Gothic-Romanesque church also features an ornate nave, a Romanesque chancel, and exquisite frescoes which are but an escape into the church's storied past. Topped by a gleaming teal cap, this church proudly graces the heart of Zurich's old town.
Emblematic of its rich history since the Middle Ages, the Zünfte or the guild houses have shaped much of the city's architecture and culture. Step into this rich historical tapestry with the Zürich And Its Guilds tour, where participants are guided through some of the 13 guild houses and apprised of their backgrounds. The tour typically begins at Paradeplatz, and is available in German, English and French languages. Zürich And Its Guilds also gives you an overview of the soul-stirring Sechseläuten festival in spring, held within the historic guildhalls.
One of the most eye-catching features of the Fraumunster, Located in the heart of Zurich along the banks of the river Limmat, is the church's cyan-topped spire. The architecture is minimalistic in nature and takes nothing away from the beautiful Chagall windows and the paintings inside the church. Guided and audio tours are available giving visitors an insight into the history of this ancient building. The church is well maintained and clean and is a must visit when in the city.
Located in the Altstadt district of Zurich, the Münsterhof town square is a beautiful, idyllic place and home to some of the finest historical buildings in the city. It is the largest square found within the medieval walls and is surrounded by the Fraumünster church, the Zunfthaus zur Meisen and various famous restaurants and cafes. Every three years, a medieval fun fair is organized here by the Fraumünster society.
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.
Augmented by the steely waters of the Limmat River, this church is a stirring escape into history. A stone's throw from Lindenhof Hill in the old town of Zurich, this is one of the four major churches in the city. Although the current holy site was not declared sacred until 1706, an early church structure was believed to have been built by the 8th or 9th Century. The most iconic feature of St. Peterskirche is its clock tower, which plays host to the largest clock face in the country, its minute hand alone measuring 5.7 meters (18.8 feet). With a facade as legendary and imposing as this, it is no surprise that St. Peter Church lords over pristine, fawn-roofed houses which dot the charming landscape of Old Town. However, the interiors of the church are just as beautiful, its stuccoed white ceiling and carved wooden balconies illuminated by a line of chandeliers that swing overhead. While an ornate Romanesque choir stall and Baroque naves add to its magnificence, it is the now faded murals that are a true testimony to the church's long-standing history and religious repute.