Europe Today
Switzerland Today
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Switzerland is situated at the heart of Europe. It is surrounded by Germany to the north, Austria and the Principality of Liechtenstein to the east, France to the west and Italy to the south.


The name "Switzerland" is derived from Schwyz, one of the three small states that founded the Confederation.

The foundation of the Swiss State was laid in 1291, when the people of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden, on the shores of Lake Lucerne, united in a defensive league against the mighty House of Hapsburg. Other cities and districts anxious to maintain their independence joined the league. In 1815 the Republic of Geneva was one of the last cantons to agree to join. In 1979 the new Canton Jura was formed, which was formerly part of Berne. Today, there are 23 cantons, three of which are divided into half-cantons.
Switzerland's capital is Bern.


The geological structure of Switzerland is complex. It forms part of the Alpine arc which stretches almost 1000 kilometres from Nice (French Maritime Alps) to Vienna (Austrian Alps).

Switzerland embraces the centre part of the Alps, with its four main passes - Grimsel, Furka, St. Gotthard and Oberalp; here also spring the sources of the rivers Rhone and Rhine.

Switzerland offers, on a small territory of 15,944 sq. miles, a huge quantity of beautiful landscapes which cannot be seen anywhere else on such a limited surface.

Due to its central position, Switzerland has been, throughout history, an important link in communications and transport between northern and southern Europe.

Schweiz Tourismus
Bellariastrasse 38
CH-8027 Zürich
Tel: 01 288 11 11
Fax: 01 288 12 05
E-Mail: postoffice@switzerlandtourismus.ch


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