· Medieval Gates
· Paulus Church
· St. Anthony Church
· Tinguely Fountain
· Bridges & Ferry
· Rhine Ports
While Basel's coat of arms is still showing the crosier of Basel's medieval prince bishop, who was forced to leave the city during the Swiss Reformation, Basel's heraldic animal is the Basilisk, a fable animal that seems to stimulate fantasy not only in its home Basel but also - thanks to Harry Potter - in strange places like Hogwarts castle ...
Traditional myths define the Basilisk as a "poisonous worm and fable emerging from the egg of an old rooster, brooded by the warmth of dung or by a snake or a toad.". The appearance of the Basilisk is described as "like a cock with dragon's wings, the beak of an eagle and the tail of a lizard."
The Basilisk holding Basle's coat of arms can be traced back in heraldry to a monument reminding of the fatal 1356 earthquake that destroyed the city almost to the ground: "Basilisk, you poisonous worm and fable, now you shall hold the shield of the dignified city of Basel". This epigraph probably dates back to the early 15th century.
Basilisk holding a shield with Basel's crosier
fountain near Elisabethenkirche
Until the 1980's, two Basilisks holding Basel's coat of arms with the black crosier could also be seen on every tram wagon in Basel, but they have been replaced by a modern logo that may hardly be recognized as an abstract crosier. You may encounter a nostalgic tram with the old logo in Basel's streets from time to time, however.
Last but not least, Basel's local FM radio station calls itself Radio Basilisk.
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