Port Angeles, Washington
March 30, 2004
We started with a stroll through the Niederdorf district, filled with hip and trendy shops, cafés, and pubs. We stopped to see a scale model of Zürich, showing structures that no longer exist, including a protection wall and series of city fortresses. One line of fortresses was in the exact location of the current-day Bahnhofstrasse, a street of exclusive and expensive shops.
While all pre-13th century structures are gone (they were built of wood), there is plenty of post-13th century stone left in evidence around Zürich. On the south side of the river, near St. Peter’s Clock Tower, there is a partially excavated roman bath. It is under the sidewalk and is covered by a grate that pedestrians walk over.
Other highlights of the tour were:
Grossmünster Church – this church, with its matching towers, is a real beauty. The Zürich Tourism Board website says this about Grossmünster: "According to legend, Charlemagne discovered the graves of the city's martyrs Felix and Regula and had a church build as a choristers' cloister on the spot."
Fraumünster Church – this church and former convent is most famously know for its stained glass windows designed by artist Marc Chagall. Chagall was 80 years old when he did the windows. Other than the windows, this church is relatively plain, a result of the Reformation period.
St. Peter’s Clock Tower and church – this is the largest clock face in Europe. As I firefighter, I was particularly interested in the fact that the tower was used as a fire watchtower until 1911. The nearby square is beautiful, with a large old tree growing up through the stone paving.
Lindenhof – this is a high point above the river, making it the perfect spot for defense of the city in older times. The current-day park holds the remnants of a Roman fortess and customs post. There are many trees and benches, a great view of the city, and enthusiastic chess players – I am told they are there every day of the year, no matter the weather.
Police Station – the police station is remarkable for its colorful ceiling mural, painted by Augusto Giacometti.
In addition to these sights and others, we learned so much about the area through anecdotes told by our excellent guide. Her stories really made the history come alive. We also learned about some of the famous residents of Zürich, such as authors Gottfried Keller and James Joyce. Lenin also lived in exile in Zürich from 1916-1917.
I highly recommend this informative and interesting tour.
From journal Zürich on Foot