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Nydeggkirche, Bern, Switzerland

This attractive steeple outside Bern’s city center, near the river, caught my eye. The Nydeggkirche marks the original site of Nydegg Castle, which was built in 1150 by Duke Berchtold V. von Zähringen right before he ordered the city of Bern to be built. From here, the duke oversaw Bern’s construction. In true real estate […]

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Burgtreppe and Matte District, Bern, Switzerland

These covered steps lead from Bern’s city center down to the Matte district, which was an old working-class neighborhood filled with dockworkers and craftspeople. It was such a tight neighborhood that the citizens had their own dialect, descended from that of Swiss gypsies. In the 1970’s, the neighborhood was, of course, gentrified. It was bound […]

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Berner Münster

After the Zytglogge, this late-Gothic church gets the most attention in Bern. Its spire is the highest in Switzerland and the portal, which has 234 colored depictions of the Last Judgment, is its most famous feature. The left half of the portal depicts the saved, the right half the damned. The 170 small figures are […]

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Bern Street Shots

A few eye-catching touches: I enjoyed this creative seat. Talk about a cozy staircase! I guess Fred Flintstone is inside.Tweet

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Rathaus, Bern

This 15th-century late-Gothic style town hall is one of the main buildings in Bern. It is the seat of the cantonal government, where the Bernese Cantonal Council meets five times a year. In front is a 16th-century fountain featuring a Bernese standard-bearer in full armor with, of course, a bear. Tweet

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St. Peter und Paul Kirche, Bern

This structure caught my attention because it looked brand new, a rarity on a continent full of ancient churches. This sparse, mock-Gothic church was built in the 19th century and was the first Catholic church to be constructed here since the Reformation. Tweet

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Kindlifresserbrunnen, or Ogre Fountain, Bern

Yes, you’re seeing this correctly! This fountain, which dominates one of Bern’s main squares, is of a man eating a baby while holding a sack of babies. This fountain dates from the 16th century. It was originally painted yellow to signify the Europeans’ belief that Jewish rituals involved murdering children. Tweet

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Zytglogge, Bern

Back in Bern’s early days, the clock tower served as the city gate. It was part of a defense wall that formed the city’s westernmost boundary and the fourth line of defense (the other three were the river). The tower was constructed in the 13th century, and within forty years the boundaries shifted further west. […]

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Bern, Switzerland

Bern is known as the most relaxed city in Switzerland and one of the most laid-back European capitals. It’s easy to see why: natural beauty – imposing ash and oak trees, steep hills and the Aare River – surrounds quiet cobblestone streets and quaint arcaded buildings and benches and fountains are scattered about to maximize […]

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Bern’s Bears

In addition to fountains, Bern is also full of bears. As legend has it, after Duke Berchtold V. von Zähringen ordered up the city of Bern, the first animal he saw (and captured, depending on the source) in the wild was a bear. Good thing it wasn’t a skunk or a chipmunk. Tweet

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