Zurich can be found on the northern shores of Lake Zurich with the stunning snow-capped peaks of the Alps as a backdrop. It is from this fine vantage point the city has seen many a shift in fortune and ruler. The meandering streets and towering church steeples betray a rich history that has taken in the Romans, German conquerors as well as invasion by Napoleon’s France.
These days the rule of law is set to a very different tone, commerce. A centre of banking and trade, the city has benefited from the wealth that emanates from both industries. As such you can expect to find a clean and prosperous city.
Below are easyCar’s top 5 cultural highlights from Zurich:
Swiss National Museum
For those who love art, Zurich is home to over fifty museums and galleries. They boast a marvelous collection of European sculptures, videos, paintings and photography, as well as a large collection of non-European art. A short walk away from Zurich’s main railway station, is the Swiss National Museum, which contains a comprehensive collection of special exhibits that relate to Switzerland’s proud cultural history. At CHF 10 (Swiss Francs) to enter, this is a bargain you would be mad to miss.
Zurich Opera House
The majestic Zurich Opera House has been the heart of opera in Zurich since 1891. It overlooks the vast Zurichsee lake and sits just outside the city centre. For any fans of opera, it is well worth the short journey out for it. Naturally, seat prices vary depending on quality and proximity to the stage. They range from as low as CHF 13 all the way up to CHF 320, so it is well worth doing your research before buying a ticket. This summer the opera house will be showing I Capuleti e i Montecchi, a reworking of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet by Vincenzo Bellini.
Peter Kilchmann Gallery
The Peter Kilchmann Gallery has a lot to offer for the discerning art buff. A treasure trove of modern art and sculpture, the gallery’s current exhibitions include Monica Bonvicini’s Forget All Instructions. Bonvicini’s brutal black structures occupy the centre of the room and stand in stark contrast to the delicately sanded wooden floorboards and matte white walls. The gallery is open Tuesday to Friday 10am – 6pm and on Saturdays 11am – 5pm. The nearest S-Bahn station is Zurich, Hardbrücke.
The Kunsthaus Zurich is THE go-to gallery for modern art fans. The list of artists exhibited is like a who’s who of modern art’s big names. In the exhibition Europe: the future of history you can expect to see the likes of Joseph Beuys, Alberto Giacometti and Andreas Gursky. Standard entry tickets cost CHF 22 and are worth every penny. The gallery also has an extensive library to browse. Art historians will think they’ve reached heaven.
Zurich has four major churches waiting to be discovered and explored. Fraumünster Church is a historic Evangelical church that sits on a site of a former abbey which was founded in 853.
Grossmünster is by far the most regal of all the churches to be found in the city. The building was completed in 1220, having been commissioned by Charlemagne (King of the Franks).
For a smaller, more intimate place of worship you should hunt out St. Peterskirche that sits on Lindenhof Hill, the site of what was once a Roman castle. The church’s clock, by which Zurich used to set its time, is the largest church clock in Europe with a 8.7m diameter face.
The final awe-inspiring church to be found in Zurich is Predigerkirche, which can be found near the Neumarkt quarter. The towering steeple of this church, which stands at 96m tall, marks the church out as one of the city’s key landmarks.
Zurich is a deeply cultural city with layer upon layer of key European history within in its streets. You too can follow in the footsteps of Charlemagne and Napoleon, except nowadays you can do it from the comfort of your hire car. Collect your car from one of easyCar’s six Zurich rental locations. What are you waiting for?