top of page


Adorable Chick

SWITZERLAND diary : Day 3 - 07th April 2014

Basel is a city in the north of Switzerland, sharing its own northern border with France and Germany. It lies on the beautiful Rhine river. It is commonly considered to be the cultural capital of the country. The city has often hosted International meetings and peace negotiations. The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is housed in the city. As majority of our close associates and many family members are bankers, we have been reading and hearing a lot about the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) and BIS. Naturally, we decided to visit the city due to curiosity.

The city is a peaceful hub and is said to have been one of the safest places, during political unrest in other parts of Europe. It is also noted for housing many museums. The "KUNSTMUSEUM", which is the first to be open to public in the world, displaying various collections of art works, is in the city. The Basel university in the oldest in Switzerland. We got to the city by a direct train, which we boarded in Schaffhausen after visiting the mighty Rhine waterfall.

We were stunned at the size and interiors of the Basel railway station. It was so clean, as expected. A shiny Chandelier caught our attention. We boarded a bus outside the station to get to the HAMMERING MAN. This 44 ft steel sculpture (painted in black) of a man, weighs around 8 tons and works purely based on kinetic energy. It is a tribute to the hardworking labourers of the world. The sculpture's hammering action continues 24/7, non-stop. It has been a tourist attraction eversince. After a short photo-shoot around the area, we chose to walk around the city, trying to get a feel of the local culture. It was a laid back city. People were enjoying their day, dining and chatting.

Tidy Desk

The streets echoed live music. The murals found on many walls were extraordinary and exceptional works of art. We could see that perfect blend of modern and medieval. Beautiful fountains adorned almost every corner. They provided clean drinking water . We didn't hesitate to re-fill our bottles. We walked up and down streets and rode trams and buses, feeling like a local.

We stopped at the MIDDLE BRIDGE popularly known as the MITTLERE BRUCKE . This is one of the oldest bridges and is now a classic icon of Basel. It was widely used for International trade. Today the city is more developed. River Rhine flowed silently below the amazing bridge making it a perfect PICTURE to capture.

Next in line was the Tinguely fountain, another famous landmark of the city. The amazing story of how the artist Jean Tinguely created and erected a series of moving sculptures in various places is widely known. The TINGUELY FOUNTAIN was one such creation. Here, he created a bunch of odd looking sculptures using black asphalt & iron and had them all erected in a shallow fountain. Since the fountain was built in the place of an erstwhile theatre stage, these sculptures represented actors. They are built to continuously move while spewing water, as if to play their part and converse with each other. Scroll through the gallery to watch a small video of this beautiful fountain. The fountain lies next to the church of St. Elizabeth.

We then visited the Gate of Spalen , most commonly known as SPALENTOR. It is one of the three gates remaining from the century old walls of the erstwhile fortified city. In the 10th Century, the central part of Basel was complexly walled. This wall was referred to as the BURKHARD wall ( named after the person who initiated it) . It was built not only for defence but also to limit the number of settlements in the city. The wall was later reconstructed to be called as INNER WALL. However, there were settlements found outside the wall. Later, in the 13th century another wall was externally built, on a larger scale, referred to commonly as the OUTER WALL, as the city was expanding.

In the late 18th century the inner wall and gates were demolished due to modernisation. Parts of the outer wall and the three gates were saved from such destruction in order to maintain the country's heritage. The SPALENTOR is one of the three saved gates, a part of the outer wall. The gate was used for transport of essential supplies and commodities in and out of the city. Today the gate adorns the modernised city, forming an intricate part of its rich heritage, attracting tourists from all over the world. The architecture and artworks on the gate are noteworthy. We made a quick stop to admire its beauty and adore its perfect maintenance till date.

Finally we got to the Basel Town Hall or the city hall. It is a prominent, attractive red building, that houses the government and its parliament, in the old town of the city. The frescoes and richly ornamented tower is eye catching. We spent time enough to wonder at its architecture. It was a fruitful half-a-day. We managed to cover as much as possible in the available time. We returned to the main station to catch a direct train to Interlaken west. This was end of day 3 in Switzerland