Thursday, 26 April 2012

SWITZERLAND



THE FEDERAL PALACE IN BERN 
IS THE NAME OF THE BUILDING 
IN WHICH THE FEDERAL ASSEMBLY 
OF SWITZERLAND AND THE SWISS 
FEDERAL COUNCIL ARE HOUSED 
Switzerland is in the middle of Europe and borders on Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Lichtenstein. This small country is covered by a spectacular mountain range. Half of the country is mountains and the rest are beautiful valleys.
Switzerland is a federal state and has 26 semi-independent cantons (counties). The capital is Bern and the town Zurich is the financial centre. These two towns are alongside in a long, narrow plain in the north of the Alps.
In the south is the Italian-speaking area with its magnificent lakes Maggiore and Lugano.  In the north of the country are the Jura Mountains. The winters are cold and the heaviest snowfall is in the east, near Austria. At the same time it is very sunny and the climate is dry
BERN
DEVIL BRIDGE
IN ANDERMATT

ENGADINE VALLEY

The Alps are a great tourist attraction. Two famous peaks are the Matterhorn 4478m and Mont Blanc 4810m. The highest peak on the Italian border is Monte Rosa with 4631m above sea level.
Amazing engineering have enabled cars and trains to pass over and through the Alps. Tunnels like the 20km Simplon railway tunnel links north and south Europe. The fast flowing mountains rivers are producing hydro-electric power. A famous metre-gauge electric train runs up to the Jungfraujoch and at 3454m above sea level it is the highest railway station in Europe. A toothed rack on the track makes the climb possible.
The mountains are covered in evergreen trees like spruce and pine. When the snow melts in the spring they are many small, hardy alpine plants to be found. Amongst them are the famous blue gentians and creamy white edelweiss.

The edelweiss grows in crevices on the mountainside and mostly high up. As a token of the young man's love, he climbs up on the mountain and brings it down and gives it to her. Sometimes, the crevice is porous and gives way when he wants to hold on. A number of young men came to grief and many songs were written about the edelweiss and the young man died trying to pick it as a token of their love.

EDELWEISS

On the mountains, high up on the slopes, live a goat-like antelope called chamois. They have a soft but tough skin and it was used for shammy leather. Nowadays, they usual come from sheep. Other animals called marmots also lives up there. It is like a squirrel but burrows.
Since Switzerland is in the middle of Europe people came from many races and today there are 70% German speaking, 19% French speaking, 9% Italian speaking and 1% RomanIsch speaking which is of Latin origin. Most of the people live on farms and producing dairy products such as the famous Emmentaler, and Gruyere and chocolates.
In spite of having to import raw materials, Switzerland is a wealthy country. It has great manufacture of high quality goods. Their clocks, watches, precision tools, electric machinery, diesel engines, lenses, jewellery and medicines are world famous.


THE OMEGA SPEEDMASTER - SWISS-MADE WATCH - WAS ON THE MOON DURING THE APOLLO MISSIONS.   IN TERMS OF VALUE, SWITZERLAND, IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HALF OF THE WATCH PRODUCTION IN THE WORLD. 


BUILT IN 44 BC AUGUSTA RAURICA WAS THE FIRST ROMAN SETTLEMENT ON THE RHINE.   NOWADAYS, IT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE IN SWITZERLAND 


HISTORY
The earliest settlement in Switzerland was 150,000 years ago. The oldest farming settlement in Switzerland was found in Gaechlingen and dated back about 5300 BC.
The earliest tribes invaded the area was part of the Hallstatt and La Tene cultures. Archaeologist discovered a settlement at La Tene on the north side of the Lake Neuchatel. The culture flourished during the late Iron Age from 450 BC. It is assumed that it was under the influence of the Greek and Etruscan Civilizations.
In the 1st century Julius Caesar conquered the area and established the province Helvetia.
The 8th century Charlemagne included Switzerland into his Empire. In 1291 an 'Everlasting league' was formed between the Uri, Schwyz and Nidwalden valleys in 1386. In 1386, in the battle of Sempach, Switzerland defeated the Austrian Empire. In 1506 the Swiss Guards were appointed to guard the Vatican and in 1815 Switzerland declared itself neutral. It became a single state with 26 cantons (counties).
1864 the Red Cross set up its Headquarters in Geneva. The Red Cross took its name from the Swiss flag but reversed it. Henri Dunant was the founder of the Red Cross. It is to take care of the wounded soldiers.
Geneva is a French-speaking City. The river Rhone flows through it. The United Nations, which is the peace force, has a Headquarters there. the city is also a centre for international banking and finance. Geneva is a famous meeting place for world conferences. The conference for the Strategic Arms Limitation between the USA and USSR was held there.
Switzerland is a neutral country and wasn't involved in a war since 1815. Swiss men between the age of 20 and 42 are trained to fight. Each men has an army issued rifle, ammunition, combat suit and gas mask at home. Four hundred thousand men can be ready at any time to fight. The country can be ready to defend itself between 12-18 hours notice. Every Swiss building must have a nuclear bomb shelter.
SKIING ON THE GLACIERS

SELF-GUIDED WALKING TOURS


HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES

When you look at Switzerland you ask yourself what Switzerland hasn’t got. In the winter the beautiful mountains provide a winter wonderland with heavy snowfall.

A skiing, snowboarders, sledging and ice skating paradise. Not to forget the snowball fights.
In the summer most glorious scenery of green valleys, flowers filled meadows and spotlessly clean cities.

A holiday in the clear, clean mountain air, bright sunshine, blue sky and bright snow capped mountain peaks. Traffic free villages which give you the break of peace and tranquillity you were longing for. Independent or with a well organized group of cycling and walking tours. Escorted rail tours through breathtaking scenery. Mountaineering for beginners, intermediate or professionals.
Hiking, biking and trekking will be nothing but an unforgettable experience through the breathtaking countryside. 
Their food is so nourishing because it is home-grown without pesticides and mostly home cooked.  . 
ALPHORN CONCERT IN VALE

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