· Medieval Gates
· Paulus Church
· St. Anthony Church
· Tinguely Fountain
· Bridges & Ferry
· Rhine Ports
Basel is situated in the northwest corner of Switzerland at 'the knee of River Rhine', separated from Switzerland's plateau by the Jura mountain chain - and that's probably why they are significantly more open towards the European Union and have closer relations with the neighbouring Alsace and Schwarzwald regions (France / Germany) than other German speaking Swiss regions. The international airport (BSL) is shared with Mulhouse, a nearby French city Basel has century-old close relations with.
Basel is one of Switzerland's oldest cities going back to pre-Roman times, fond of its humanist heritage (university founded in 1460) and its rich tradition (Fasnacht [carnival], Vogel Gryff). At the same time the city rivals with Zurich as a center of high tech research and development and avantgarde modern arts.
Basel is the center of Switzerland's pharmaceutical and chemical industry, hosts some important trade and technology fairs and last but not least Switzerland's sole cargo harbors.
St. Anthony Church
Bank for International Settlements
central signal box
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|See also: museums portal (city administration)|
Carnival in Basel is the classical alternative to Lucerne. While Fasnacht ends on Ash Wednesday (40 work days before Easter), in other areas, it will only start the Monday after in Basel: reformed Basel decidedly marks a difference to catholic central Switzerland.
There is also a difference in style: highlight of Basel's Fasnacht are well-organized (and well-trained) groups of people walking through the narrow downtown lanes in single files, playing piccolo flutes and drums (traditional military music instruments), parades with carriages, and last but not least Schnitzelbängg [comedy shows in restaurants]. Lay comedians sing verses referring in very satirical style to national and local events of the year. A selection of the best verses is broadcast in a two hour show of National Public Radio on the following weekend at prime time.
An archaic ritual featuring a fabulous bird (Vogel Gryff), a lion (Lai) and a wild man (Wilder Mann). The wild man arrives coming down River Rhine on a raft and dances with a tree. At the central Rhine bridge the fabulous animals wait for him.
The date of the event depends on the guild reponsible for organizing it (in turn). Anyway, it is always in January: 13th (Rebhaus guild), 20th (Haeren guild) or 27th (Greifen guild). If this happens to be a Sunday, the Vogel Gryff event will take place on the preceeding Saturday.
|Basel Tourist Office|
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