Located at the point where Switzerland, France, and Germany meet, the city has a true multicultural identity, with some of its suburbs in France and Germany. The third largest city in Switzerland, this bustling metropolis has ancient roots. A Roman settlement was founded just a few kilometers from the modern day city, where a castle was built at the current location of the Basel Minster, the cathedral. However, archaeologists have found even earlier evidence of Celtic settlements, including a vitrified fort. The cathedral began construction in 1019, and many other historical buildings still stand for visitors to enjoy.
Location: The Meeting of Three Countries
The city lies in the northwestern part of Switzerland along the river Rhine. The only cargo port in Switzerland lies in this town, which then passes the goods along the Rhine to the port of Rotterdam. Basel has an airport that straddles France and Switzerland, the EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg. It is also an important rail hub with three railway stations serving the German, French, and Swiss rail networks respectively.
Business: International Center for Peace
The city is a major industrial center for the pharmaceutical and chemical industry. Banking is also an important economic industry. It is home to the oldest university from the Swiss Confederation, the University of Basel, which was founded in 1460. The city has a long history of hosting international meetings and peace negotiations. Among the many hotels and event centers in the town is the Congress Center Basel, the largest conference center in Switzerland.
Culture: Cultural Center of Switzerland
There are numerous museums and theaters in the city and surrounding area, making it one of the most significant cultural centers of the country. The Museum of Fine Arts features the oldest publically accessible art collection in the world. The city also has many buildings designed by internationally renowned architects. The Minster is one of the chief examples of late Romanesque/early Gothic buildings among the Rhine, although it has had major reconstruction since it was built.
Activities: Celebrate Carnival in Style
The entire city shuts down for the annual carnival, one of the major cultural events in town. It is the largest in Switzerland and brings in visitors from all over. It commences at 4 am five days after Ash Wednesday, and it continues for 72 hours. The city also hosts the largest and oldest zoo of Switzerland, one of the most visited attractions in the city and country. The nearby Black Forest and Vosges Mountains provide picturesque backdrops for hiking and cycling.