Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland. About 410,000 people live here. The city is located in the north of the country, at the exit of Lake Zurich and on the Limmat and Sihl rivers. Zurich is the most important city in Switzerland for business, but not for politics, because the federal capital is Bern.
Zurich is also called the canton, that is, the city and the countryside outside it. Almost one and a half million people live here. Thus, Zurich is the most populous canton in Switzerland. It is located in the central plateau. Because there are so many companies in the canton of Zurich, it is also called the “economic engine of Switzerland”.
The cantonal parliament is the cantonal Council with its 180 members. They are elected depending on the number of residents in the districts. The city council is called the municipal council and has 125 members. They are chosen depending on the number of residents in the quarters. Both hold their meetings in the town hall on the Limmat. The executive branch of the canton is called the Government Council. It has seven members. The executive of the City of Zurich is called the City Council and has nine members. The city and the canton also have their own courts.
Important for Zurich today are the airport and good railway connections. Three highways lead to the city. This is very important for the economy. In addition to businessmen, many tourists also come to the city of Zurich.
The city of Zurich has its origins in the Roman Empire. At that time there was a castle here called Turicum, where Roman soldiers lived. However, Zurich only became a real city in the Middle Ages. From 1262 Zurich was a free imperial city within the Holy Roman Empire. In 1351, it became part of the Confederation, from which Switzerland originated. The city was then ruled by craft guilds, the guilds. Today, these groups perform every year on Sechseläuten, a festival in spring. The city of Zurich ruled over the other municipalities in the canton of Zurich for a very long time.
In the 16th century Huldrych Zwingli preached in the Grossmünster in Zurich. He wanted to renew the Christian faith. He was something like Martin Luther in Germany, the most important reformer of German-speaking Switzerland.
In the 16th century, Zurich was bounded and fortified on the east side by the Seilergraben and the Hirschengraben. To the west was the Fröschengraben. The city was then extended in the west to the Schanzengraben. It’s still standing today. The Fröschengraben was covered up, where the expensive Bahnhofstrasse is located today.
In 1894, a whole circle of villages around the city was united with the city, because they had grown together. In 1934, another eight municipalities were included. These form the individual quarters today. Further introductions were always an issue, but never came about. The medieval old town with its important houses and large churches was largely preserved.
Today Zurich is a cosmopolitan city. Many Swiss banks and insurance companies are located there. and a lot of cultural life, which is why Zurich is also a popular destination for tourism, also because of the Old town. In addition, many radio and television stations have their studios here, there is a university and several colleges, the largest airport and the largest railway station in Switzerland.
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