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Basel

is perfectly positioned on the corner of three countries: Switzerland, Germany and France. From Basel it is easy to go to the French Alsace or Southern Germany to enjoy the local cuisine or less expensive shopping

Basel is the second largest city in Switzerland by population. While it is an industrial town, home to some of the world’s most powerful pharmaceutical and chemical giants, it is also very beautiful.  In 1986 one of these chemical companies had a major chemical accident that was catastrophic for the Rhein, the river that divides Basel into two halves. Many feared that the Rhein would be dead for years, but it seems to have recovered well and is a source of recreation and pleasure for most of the population.

 

What to See: 

The two halves of Basel are known as Large Basel (Gross Basel) and Small Basel (Klein Basel). Large Basel is by far the more beautiful of the two. It is the location of the Marktplatz (Market Place) with the brightly colored, 500 year old City Hall and the 700 year old Munster Cathedral. In a fountain in Theaterplatz you will find some of artist Jean Tinguely’s robotic creatures merrily splashing in the water, like children playing. If you enjoy this, go to Basel’s Tinguely museum which houses works by Tinguely and his contemporaries. Click Here

 

Connecting Large and Small Basel are a series of bridges, including the nearly 800 year old, stone Middle Bridge (Mittlere Brücke). This bridge was the early source of Basel’s commerce as it was the only way across the Rhein in ancient times. Also connecting Large and Small Basel are 4 very unique ferries. These ferries have no motors but are propelled by the power of the Rhein. They are connected to overhead wires that cross the river. The driver turns the ferry into the direction of the current and, like a huge boat rudder; the ferry is pushed across to the other side.  

 

Events: 

Basel is famous for its annual Fasnacht (Carneval) tradition. While Basel’s Carneval is a party, it is very different. Basel’s Carneval starts with Morganstreich when at 4am the lights in the entire city switch off and a sombre parade begins. The participants, dressed up in costumes including a mask to hide the identity, march to fife and drum music through the streets of Basel carrying lighted signs, lanterns, with paintings and slogans criticizing various political powers. As this happens in the middle of winter, and in the middle of the night, you would think that few would participate. But people come from all over the world for the experience, which everyone should see it at least once. To see a video, naturally filmed in the dark, Click Here