Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Basel is located by the River Rhine in the northwest corner of Switzerland, near the point where the borders of Germany, France and Switzerland meet. Ever since it emerged back in Celtic time, Basel has been a meeting place for people in Europe, and in modern times the city has been an important commercial, intellectual and cultural intersection point.
Switzerland's first university was founded in Basel in 1460. It attracted humanist scholars like Erasmus of Rotterdam (who is buried in the cathedral), and this in turn helped give Basel a reputation as a city of academic and humanistic excellence and a peaceful, tolerant and welcoming culture.
This has proved to be historically important, as a big part of the city's economy today is related to knowledge-based industries (particularly the pharmaceutical industry) and to activities that attract visitors to the city - from conferences and trade fairs like Art Basel, the world's leading art fair, to tourism and various cultural activities.
The city's cultural riches are immense. Basel is a centre for modern design and architecture, and it has several impressive galleries, theatres and music halls as well as more than 30 different museums.
Among them is the renowned Kunstmuseum, one of the world's oldest art collections open to the public, and the Museum Jean Tinguely, dedicated to the avant-garde artist Jean Tinguely, who was born in Basel.
The city's musical scene is impressive too. Some 1,000 concerts are held in Basel every year, and the music performed spans from opera to jazz, from chamber music to punk rock.
Basel has a very attractive cityscape, from the Old Town to the more modern parts of the city, from the house facades and city streets to the many squares, fountains and bridges. From the massive medieval cathedral and the Town Hall from 1504 to modern buildings by architects like Renzo Piano, Richard Meier and Frank Gehry, Basel offers a unique urban architectural environment.
The surrounding region also has a lot to please visitors, from the excavated remains of the old Roman town Augusta Raurica to the natural wonders of the Jura, the Vosges and the Black Forest.
If you want to book a hotel in another interesting city, go to www.medestino.com.