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Understand Basel

Basel is a city in Switzerland. Perhaps one of Switzerland's slightly underrated tourist destinations, Basel has a beautiful medieval old town center, a Carnival that ranks with those of Venice and Rio de Janeiro, and several world class art museums built by architects like Renzo Piano, Mario Botta and Herzog & De Meuron.

Basel is also otherwise rich in architecture old and new, with a Romanesque Münster (cathedral), a Renaissance Rathaus (town hall), and various examples of high quality contemporary architecture, including more buildings by Herzog & De Meuron, Richard Meier, Diener & Diener, and various others - a new concert hall is planned by Zaha Hadid.

Located in the Dreiländereck (three countries' corner), Basel is a gateway to the Swiss Jura mountains and nearby cities of Zürich and Lucerne, as well as the neighboring French region of Alsace and the German Black Forest. There are a number of things to see and do if you have a few days to spend.The town of Basel lies in the north-western corner of Switzerland. The town shares borders with France and Germany and is the heart of this tri-national region - the Dreiländereck (three countries' corner). Besides its own attractions it can serve as a good entry point to the Alsace, Black Forest regions or the canton of Basel-Land. The Rhine runs through the city in an right-angle curve and divides the town into two parts. Situated on the south and west bank is Grossbasel (Great Basel) with the medieval old town at its center. Kleinbasel (Little Basel), featuring much of the night-life, is located on the north bank.

Basel means art. Visiting Basel can be a holiday for your vocal cords if you plan to absorb the beautiful art in silence exhibited in the many first-rate museums. Once a year it also hosts ArtBasel which is the world's premier fair for modern classics and contemporary art.

Basel has one of the most amazing carnivals you're likely to see, called Fasnacht. If you're there during the "three loveliest days" of the year, prepare to be amazed, and don't expect to be able to sleep.

Even if you think your German is pretty good, and even though Basel is only just over the German border, remember this is Switzerland and the locals speak the incomparable and lively Baseldytsch.

BaselTourismus, +41 61 268 68 68, the local tourist information service, has several offices, including at the main station, Bahnhof SBB, and in the city center, in the Stadtcasino building at Barfüsserplatz, directly across the street from McDonald's. To organize guided tours, you can also visit the office at Aeschenvorstadt 36, +41 61 268 68 32.

Of late Basel has become known as the Manchester of Switzerland, this is due to several comparisons with the UK City. This includes, amongst others, the weather, the multi-cultural make-up, the wide variety of shopping and eating establishments and the surrounding geography.


Modified: 2007-03-21 18:39:49+01
Source: http://wikitravel.org/en/Basel


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