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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Switzerland

Photo: Swiss Alps
The pastoral beauty of the Swiss Alps invites visitors to explore its fields and crags.
Photograph by James P. Blair
Roughly the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combined, straddling the central ranges of the Alps, Switzerland boasts much more than snowy Alpine vistas and picturesque villages. • This is a culture rich in history dating back to Charlemagne. • Inhabited originally by the Helvetic Celts, the region fell under Roman rule in the first century B.C., which may help explain Switzerland's determination to hold itself above the turbulence of 20th-century Europe. • The fabled secrecy of the nation's banks remains largely intact. • Its cheeses and chocolates are among its gustatory marvels, but the full list is long indeed. 

Listed below are the Switzerland photo galleries available to view on Sacred Destinations so far. Most galleries have highly detailed captions, but some just let the pictures (and accompanying articles) do the talking. Photo galleries are listed alphabetically by site name. Any photos credited as © Sacred Destinations are available for licensing. Note: If a site doesn't have a photo gallery, that doesn't mean we don't have photos of it on Sacred Destinations! Please see Sacred Sites in Switzerland for an index of articles on sites in Switzerland, all of which are illustrated with photos.

Archaeological Site
Geneva, Canton Geneva
32 photos
Auditoire de Calvin
Geneva, Canton Geneva
20 photos
Bern Münster
Bern, Canton Bern
249 photos
Einsiedeln
Canton Schwyz
55 photos
Französische Kirche
Bern, Canton Bern
63 photos
Fraumünster
Zurich, Canton Zurich
32 photos
Grossmünster
Zurich, Canton Zurich
217 photos
Heiliggeistkirche
Bern, Canton Bern
39 photos
Lausanne Cathedral
Lausanne, Canton Vaud
132 photos
Reformation Wall
Geneva, Canton Geneva
28 photos
Spiez Schlosskirche
Spiez, Canton Bern
45 photos
St. Peterskirche
Zurich, Canton Zurich
43 photos
 

Fast Facts

Population:
7,446,000
Capital:
Bern; 320,000
Area:
41,284 square kilometers (15,940 square miles)
Language:
German, French, Italian, Romansh
Religion:
Roman Catholic, Protestant
Currency:
Swiss franc
Life Expectancy:
80
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $32,000
Literacy Percent:
99
Flag: Switzerland
Map: Switzerland
A history of political stability and expertise in technology and commerce help explain the Swiss phenomenon: a post-industrial economy that reported one of the highest per capita incomes in the world.
Founded in 1291 as a union of three cantons chafing against Habsburg rule, Switzerland has been independent since 1815; its borders now encompass 26 cantons embracing three major languages—German, French, and Italian. Foreigners make up 25 percent of the workforce. Switzerland competes in global markets with exports that make up almost half of the nation's economy; however the Swiss in a 2001 referendum voted against joining the European Union.
Elaborate civil defense measures and a strong militia back up the Swiss policy of permanent neutrality. Switzerland is firmly committed to world peace, and in 2002 became a member of the United Nations.
ECONOMY
  • Industry: Machinery, chemicals, watches, textiles, precision instruments
  • Agriculture: Grains, fruits and vegetables; meat
  • Exports: Machinery, chemicals, metals, watches, agricultural products
—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

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