by Wildcat Dianne
November 8, 2011
As I mentioned above, the Rathaus of Basel was originally constructed in the 14th Century away from where the Prince Bishop of Basel ruled from on Cathedral Hill. Basel Rathaus was built in the Marktplatz or Market Square. The Prince Bishop still tried to rule Basel and the Guilds Craftsmen who did business in the Rathaus for about 100 more years until 1501 when the Guilds Craftsmen joined the Swiss Federation of 12 Cantons and were successfully able to separate themselves from the rule of the Prince Bishop.
Thoughout the centuries, the Basel Rathaus has undergone several face lifts and renovations. The first renovation was in the 16th Century when a new front was built on it along with twelve arms representing the twelve Cantons of the Swiss Federation. In the 17th Century, the Basel Rathaus was enlarged with a bigger facade and mock arc features designed by architect Hans Bock. In 1900, the old 14th century parts of the Rathaus were torn down and another extension was added to the building along with a new tower on the right side of the building.
What you see of the Basel Rathaus today is a beautiful building painted in a bright brick red color with spires that look like molten gold has been poured over them. In the bright May sun, I was almost blinded by the brightness of the golden spires and the colors of the facade inspired the artist in me to want to paint a room in our house that color of red. But convincing Mom will be another story in itself.
However, if you are ever in Basel, please make a short trip to the Marktplatz to see the Rathaus and afterwards, walk around the little farmers market in the square to check out the wares of the farmers who are selling produce or cheese. Then go an have a cup of coffee or tea in one of the local restaurants located nearby and relax. It is well worth a little of your time you have in Basel.
From journal A Little Taste of Switzerland, Germany, and Italy