Switzerland – Land Of Beauty And Mystery
CULTURE | May 2, 2019
Swiss Flag. Source: (imagui.eu)
Switzerland is a small country centrally located in Europe surrounded by France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, and Italy. It is a unique country in comparison to other countries.
Switzerland was founded in 1848, forming a modern constitution that made a federal state of the confederation. Their government is a parliamentary democracy in which the voters elect the parliament, who then forms the government. The Federal Assembly has a bicameral parliament, which is one that contains two separate assemblies (House of Lords and House of Commons) and both must agree on new laws that are made. Citizens have an active role in influencing the government with direct participation in making decisions.
Switzerland is known as a neutral country and did not directly take part in large wars. Since the end of World War I, Geneva has been the location for the League of Nations symbolizing their desire for peace.
Part of Switzerland’s history includes old medieval castles. Chillon Castle is one of them and sits near Lake Geneva, Switzerland. It was built in the 9th century and was occupied for 1,000 years. From the 12th century until the 16th century, the Counts of Savoy occupied it and also used it a tool for controlling trade along the shore of the lake. After that, the Bernice took it over and used it as a prison from 1536 until the latter part of the 18th century. From 1532 to 1536, the monk named François Bonivard was a prisoner in the dungeon. A romantic poem, “The Prisoner Of Chillon,” was written about him by Lord Byron, the English poet who visited the castle one summer. It inspired him to write a poem about Bonivard’s experience. The castle is now an attraction where visitors come from all over to view it with its medieval kitchens and rooms as well as the dungeon.
Another medieval castle in Switzerland is the Rapperswil Castle that was built in the early 13th century and is located in Rapperswil, Switzerland along the Obersee and Zurichsee lakes. Count Rudolf II and his son, Rudolf III built it using sandstone from the Lutzelau island. The town walls and city were also built from this sandstone. In 1350, a coup was attempted in the city of Zurich and, consequently, Rudolph Brun destroyed the town walls of Rapperswil and the castle. It was rebuilt by the Duke of Austria, Albrecht II. In 1442, the castle was given to the Rapperswil citizens with the Swiss Confederation controlling it until 1798. By then it was in desperate need of repair and was leased for 99 years by Count Wladyslaw Broel-Plater, who restored it at his own expense establishing it as a museum in 1870.
There are many beautiful resort areas and places to visit in Switzerland. One of the many beautiful sights in Switzerland is a little village called Arosa.
In 1883, Arosa was established as a health resort by a German doctor and the first sanatorium was opened in 1888. During the early 1900s, Arosa gradually developed into a winter resort. The first ski lifts were built in 1938, and in 1956, the Weisshorn cable car was opened and chair lifts followed.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes series wrote of his skiing adventures in a British magazine, The Strand, in 1894, and the story attracted British skiers to Switzerland.
Arosa is well-known for its safe skiing area and boasts over 37 miles of slopes. It is both a summer and a winter tourist resort.
An interesting resort is this mountain hideaway in the Swiss Alps, a luxurious resort that sits in a place called Andermatt. According to the story, about 800 years ago, a deal went down with the devil. After completing this bridge that is now known as Devil’s Bridge, the Devil would own the soul of the first one to cross it. Once the bridge was completed, a goat was chased across rather than letting a person cross. Because the Devil was angry at being tricked, he picked up a stone weighing 220 tons to smash the bridge, but a woman with a crucifix stopped him. As he fled away, he dropped it and it is now known as Devil’s Stone.
Besides the beauty and history of Switzerland, there are many products they produce and are famous for which people all over the world enjoy.
Switzerland is famous for its various types of chocolate. Chocolate production began in Switzerland as far back as the 17th century. From the 19th century to the end of World War II, the Swiss chocolate industry heavily exported their chocolate. After the war, they moved to commercial outsourcing to export their chocolate products.
Today, the Swiss are the largest consumers of the chocolate produced within their own country and export 50% of their chocolate products, with the top five markets being Germany, Britain, France, Canada, and the USA. Together they account for over half of all exports.
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