There is more to this country that just chocolates. From the tropical Alps to the Swiss National Park, from Lake Geneva to the 2000-year-old town of Zurich, the number of places one can visit in this landlocked, breathtakingly beautiful country are endless. No matter what, in my opinion, one should visit this place at least once in their lifetime. But before visiting any places, one should first learn some facts about the country.
It's always interesting to learn about other countries. You get to know new things, learn about the ways and lives of other people, customs that they follow, the language that they speak, the clothes that they wear, the food that they eat, and the places they inhabit. Let's discover all these things about Switzerland.
- The history of Switzerland goes back to around 150,000 years. The oldest farming settlements that were found here, are said to have belonged to 5300 BC.
- The La Tène culture was one of the first cultures to flourish in this area. It developed during the Iron Age, i.e., around the 5th century BC.
- The Helvetii were the most important tribe during this period, but in the battle of Bibracte, the Roman army, led by Julius Caesar, defeated this tribe. Later, around 15 BC, the Roman Emperor Tiberius, along with his brother Drusus, made Switzerland a part of the Roman Empire.
- Did you know that the official name of Switzerland is Confoederatio Helvetica? It was founded in the year 1292. Besides this, Switzerland is also called Schweiz in German, Svizzera in Italian, Suisse in French, and as Svizra in Romansh.
- In 1292, it was a union of three main cantons, who were against the Habsburg rule. This country became free in the year 1815.
- The capital is Berne, and it's official currency is Swiss Francs.
- Nearly 70% of this land is covered in mountains with the Swiss Alps covering around 60% of the total mountainous area. This makes Switzerland the second-most alpine country after Austria.
- Compared to the rest of the countries, Switzerland is smaller with an area of 41,283 square kilometers.
- Switzerland is surrounded by 5 countries: France, Germany, Italy, Austria, and Liechtenstein.
- The 5 main cities of Switzerland are Basel, Geneva, Berne, Lausanne, and Zürich.
- It has 26 cantons, and out of these, German is spoken in 17 counties. French is spoken in the Western part of the country, in 4 cantons: Geneva, Neuchâtel, Jura, and Vaud. Italian, on the other hand, is spoken in the four southern valleys in Canton Graubünden and Ticino. Romansh, a language which has its roots in Latin, is spoken only in Graubünden.
- The Swiss climate varies from place to place. It has a temperate climate, with warm and humid summer seasons, and snowy and foggy winters. This country also experiences a few spells of rain from time to time.
- The longest glacier (14 miles) in Alps, can be found here in Switzerland and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Switzerland has the highest train station (Jungfraujoch at 11,330 feet) and the highest subterranean station (Mittelallalin Fee at 11,482 feet) in the whole of Europe. It also has the only revolving aerial cableway in the whole of Europe and the steepest cogwheel station in the world (48% incline). It has the highest man-made cement dam in the world―the Grande Dixence (935 feet). It is also home to the longest pedestrian stairs in the world―Niesen stairs (11,674 in number).
- The seat of the European Headquarters of the United Nation (UN), the World Trade Organization (WTO), World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), World Economic Forum (WEF), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Airports Council International (ACI), and World Wide Web Virtual Library, is Geneva.
- After Sweden, this country has the highest life expectancy in Europe.
- This country has a long history of political and military neutrality.
- Switzerland is the only country in the world to have hiking trails which are more than 1 km for each square km of area. It also has the most famous and beautiful World Cup Downhill Racing slope in Lauberhorn and also the best place to sail in the world―Alinghi.
- Good news for the golfers who are visiting Switzerland! This country has a 18-hole course, which has the highest elevation in the whole of Europe.
- Most of the Swiss people are either Roman Catholics or Protestants.
- Football and ice hockey are highly popular here and so is tennis. Two famous tennis players―Roger Federer and Martina Hingis―are from Switzerland.
- This is the only country, in fact the first country to implement direct democracy, which involves public petitions and the referendum.
- Nestle―the world's largest food and beverage company―has its headquarters in Vevey. The first bar of chocolate was produced here in the year 1819 by François-Louis Cailler. The average Swiss people eat about 22lbs of chocolates per year.
- Farming and agriculture occupies an important place in this country and people still have gardens as a part of the landscape.
These facts will only tell you about the uniqueness of this beautiful country that is Switzerland. But to see the stunningly magical paradise that it is, you will have no choice but to visit it.