Places of interest in Switzerland
There is something in common between the Swiss Alpine Club, the Swiss Union of Trade Unions (USS / SGB), the Radical Democratic Party, the Swiss Football Association and the Federation of Protestant Churches in Switzerland. They were all founded … in the buffet of the Olten train station.
This is in the full sense of the word, a historical buffet received its first customers in 1856, today it is operated by a large international company. The buffet is the ideal location for national events, as Olten (canton Solothurn) is one of Switzerland’s main railway junctions and can be reached quickly from the country’s largest cities. In the 19th century, the fact that industrialization began primarily in the German-speaking part of the Alpine republic was also significant, therefore the city was chosen in one of the cantons that speak the Goethe language (more precisely, its local version). In part, this course of events also explains the fact that almost all 27 USS / SGB presidents were from German-speaking Switzerland, the list includes only two from Ticino and two from Romandy.
Interestingly, the first major congress of the country’s workers was held in Olten on October 1, 1973. As a result of this congress, a few years later, the Swiss Association of Trade Unions was created.
Not everyone knows that Bern became the capital only in 1848, when modern Switzerland was created. To explain this, it must be remembered that at the end of the 18th century Switzerland did not yet exist as a state, the self-governing cantons were united only by a free military alliance, and they also ruled subordinate territories such as Vaud. In 1798, the old Confederation disappeared with the invasion of French troops, and in its place, at the behest of the interventionists, a centralized state arose. Thus the Helvetic Republic was born.
The new administration is housed in a mansion at Aarau and this city became the first capital of the country. However, six months later, the authorities moved to Lucerne, as in Aarau, with a population of less than 2.5 thousand people, they were cramped. Why did you choose this town? Because it was there that the last congress of deputies of the Swiss cantons was held.
Soon after this event, the bourgeoisie revolted against Bern, but did not succeed, and a few months later the invasion of French troops marked the disappearance of the old Confederation. For the French, Aarau’s choice was a way to laugh at Bern, to humiliate those who recently had great power. We add that before the arrival of the French, the deputies of the Swiss cantons spoke at the congress only in German, but after the creation of the centralized state, other local languages began to gain more and more importance.
Paradeplatz is a small square in the center of Zurich, but its name alone is enough to remind you of the Swiss banking sector. Until the 19th century, there was a cattle market here, and today the headquarters of the country’s two largest banks, UBS and Credit Suisse, are located. The Swiss Stock Exchange and a number of other financial institutions are located nearby.
Despite its small size, Paradeplatz is of great importance in the life of Zurich and the whole country, which is in harmony with the modest size of Switzerland and at the same time the important role it plays in the international arena. There are also many legends associated with Paradeplatz. They say that under this square is a warehouse of gold bars, but experts are skeptical about such statements, noting that this is perhaps the last secret of the Swiss financial center.
Finally – meadow Rütli (Gruetli), where mythology and the national spirit of the Swiss almost merged together. This place is not striking in its size, but a beautiful view of Lake Lucerne opens up from here. However, it is unlikely that the representatives of the cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden took into account the view of the lake when, according to legend, in August 1291 they entered into an alliance and actually founded the Confederation. Rütli is important not only because this story is associated with him, but also by relatively recent events, which have documentary evidence: it was here on July 25, 1940 that the commander-in-chief of the Swiss army during the Second World War, Henri Guisan, in the presence of five hundred officers, made public his defensive plan. countries in the framework of the so-called “Ryutli report”. It was visited by the heads of several states, including the Queen of Great Britain and the last president of Czechoslovakia and the first president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel.