Basel: some sights

Basel is a popular city in northwestern Switzerland. The city is located along the Rhine on the French-German border. The two halves of Basel are connected by six bridges over the Rhine just before the river makes a sharp bend to form the German-French border. The official language of Basel is the Swiss version of German. Only a few cities in Europe can match Basel’s cultural attractions. Visitors will find more than forty museums there.

Brief history

Since the eleventh century the city was in the hands of a Princely Bishop. Later, after being ruled by Burgundy and the German-Austrian powers, the city joined the Swiss confederation in 1501. Since the Renaissance, Basel has been an important cultural center. The university became an important center and attracted more and more scholars and intellectuals. All this contributed to the rich cultural heritage that the city still has.

Sights

The old town

This part of Basel is quite small but has a unique atmosphere with its stone streets, medieval churches, well-maintained old houses and brightly colored fountains. You will find a modern fountain in the middle of the stately old houses. Stroll through the narrow alleys such as the Leonhardsberg, Spalenberg and Heuberg. At the small fish market you will find a fountain that is a copy of a Gothic fountain, the original of which is kept in the historical museum.

Town hall and market

The market is the center of the old town. You can buy colorful products and flowers there and you will also find the beautiful red town hall from 1504-1521. The building is in late Burgundian style, but the left wing and the large tower were added later in the nineteenth century. Visit the beautiful courtyard and admire the restored murals.

Art Museum Basel

The most beautiful paintings are kept in the art museum, which was expanded in 2015. You will find both classical and modern works. The first floor houses the collection of the old masters and a collection of French and Dutch paintings. Modern art from the nineteenth century to the twentieth century is kept on the second floor. You will find paintings by Gauguin and Van Gogh, among others.

Spalentor

The Spalentor is a fortified gate from 1370 that once contained two stone walls. Since the destruction of the walls in 1866, the gate has remained standing alone. On the left side of the gate you will find an early nineteenth-century mailbox with the image of a dove, which is also the symbol of the city. Close to the gate you will find the church of St. Peter. This was rebuilt in the fifteenth century, but some parts still date from an earlier building from the fourteenth century. Inside you will find beautiful frescoes. Another nearby building is the university which has beautiful botanical gardens.

Toy Museum

This impressive collection of more than six thousand toys, including dolls and dollhouses, is not just for children. The dollhouses are exceptional, they are not only historical pieces but also new works by artists who create beautiful miniatures. You will also find an impressive collection of more than two thousand teddy bears.

Antique Museum

This museum exhibits Egyptian, Greek, Italian, Etruscan and Roman art from about 4000 BC to the sixteenth century AD. You will find a beautiful collection of Greek vases, but also gold jewelry, bronze sculptures and clay figures.

Decision

With its striking medieval buildings scattered along the banks of the Rhine, Basel is truly the cultural capital of Switzerland. With its many museums and romantic atmosphere, the city is truly a recommended destination. Art lovers in particular will enjoy it here.