Bern (German), also known as Berne (French) or Berna (Italian) is the capital of Switzerland. The Swiss always refer to Bern as the “Federal City.” The official language of the city is German and a considerable number of people speak the different varieties of the language. Bern is within the Swiss plateau in the canton of Bern which lies to the western part of central Switzerland, twelve miles to the north of the Bernese Alps. Originally built on the hills around River Aare, the city grew and bridges had to be put in place to connect the various sections. Since joining the Swiss Confederacy, Bern has held on to the title of City by virtue of being the largest canton in the Confederacy although it gained the Federal City (seat of the Federal Assembly) in 1848.

As of September 2017, the population of Bern Federal City was 142,349 people making it the fourth most populous Swiss city. However, the bigger Bern agglomeration had a population of 660,000 people within the metropolitan areas and 406,900 people within its 36 municipalities according to the 2014 statistics. Of the cantons, the city is the capital of the canton of Bern, second most populous Swiss canton. In 2008, the population had approximately 47.5% male and 52.5% female and of the total, around 34% of the population is foreign-born. 30.3 % of the population in the municipality was born in Bern while 21.4% were born in the canton and 20.1% born elsewhere in Switzerland. In 2010, Bern ranked among the top ten cities for its good quality of life.

Being a medieval City, Bern became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and since then, has continued to witness numerous tourists throughout the years. Some unique features include the fifteenth century Gothic cathedral, sixteenth century fountains, the medieval Zytglogge clock tower, the fifteenth century Munster town hall, the sixteenth century the Bärengraben bear pit, the Dählhölzli zoo, the Bundeshaus Federal Palace, Albert Einstein’s flat at the Kramgasse 49, and the Rose Garden (Rosengarten). Most of the entire old town is a heritage site. Other popularly visited sites include the Federal Archives, Federal Mint, the Historical Museum, the Swiss National Library, Museum of Communication, Alpine Museum, and Natural History Museum. Bern has six theaters and several cinemas. Nearby are the Bernese Alps which provide several adventurous activities.

Bern experiences a humid continental climate which closely resembles the temperate oceanic climate. There is no complete dry season in the city and heavy precipitation accompanied by mid-latitude cyclones dominates winters but summers are warm. Holdridge life zones classify Bern to be within the boreal rain forest biome. Averagely, there are 1,756-sunshine-hours annually. The coldest month averages around 31.3°F whereas the warmest month is July with an average temperature of 64.9°F.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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