The city of Bern is the capital of Switzerland. It was founded in 1191 by Berthold V, Duke of Zehringen, on a peninsula in a deep bend of the Aare river. The Old Town (Arterbern) is completely preserved to the present day, and is of great interest to visit.
The peninsula where the Old Town of Bern is located was inhabited by Celts during the Iron age, in the 5th century BC. In the era of Ancient Rome, there was also a Roman quarter, but in the 3rd century, the inhabitants left it, and until the 12th century, there was no permanent settlement.
A high rock ridge inside the bend of the river allowed creating a well-fortified town, which quickly developed. After the death of its founder, Berthold V, Bern was declared an Imperial town. Thanks to the Golden Charter recognized by Rudolf Habsburg, Bern owned complete independence in government.
After its Foundation, the Old Town of Bern was bounded on the West by a fortress wall that ran in the area of the Zitglogge Clock Tower, built in 1218. However, by 1256, the fortress wall was moved 300 meters to the West, where the Prison tower is now located. In 1345, the third ring of defensive fortifications appeared.
Walking through the streets of Old Bern is a pleasure. The houses were mostly built in the 17th and 19th centuries, but they have completely preserved the appearance and style of the medieval town. In the most Eastern tip of the peninsula, near the bridge to Nydeggbrucke preserved many buildings of the medieval period. It is also location of the oldest bridge in Bern, the Untertorbrücke (Bridge at the Lower gate). The first bridge on this site was built in 1256, and the extant bridge was built in 1460.
On the opposite Bank of the Aare river, near the bridge of Nydeggbrucke, you can see the Park Bear Pit. The bear is the main symbol of Bern, so there is a spacious aviary built for them, where they live in their natural environment. From the Bear Pit, the road leads to a high hill. There is the famous Rosengarten Park, a rose garden where hundreds of varieties of roses, irises and rhododendrons grow.
On the southern part of the peninsula is the Bundesplatz. At the end of the 19th century, the Federal Palace was built here in the Italian Renaissance style. It is the seats of the Federal Assembly (bicameral Parliament) and the Federal Council, the Supreme authority of the Swiss Confederation. Nearby the Bern Minster is located, as well as a bridge that leads to the main museums of Bern.