|Rental Car Switzerland Airport
Switzerland federal republic in west central Europe is a small, landlocked
country set amid mountainous terrain in the heart of the European
continent. It is covered on the west by France, on the north by Germany,
on the east by Austria, and on the south by Italy, Each of these four
countries are influenced by the Swiss culture. The country has an
area of 41,285 sq km (15,940 sq mi) and its largest city is Zurich,
and the capital is Bern.
Switzerland’s official name is Confoederatio Helvetica (Latin
for “Helvetic Confederation”), which is often translated
in English as Swiss Confederation.
Spread over an area of 41,295 square kilometers, Switzerland is
mountainous and a quarter of it is covered in forests. The snow-covered
Alps, the highest mountains in Europe offer a breathtaking view.
Famous and distinctive Alpine animals such as the ibex (a mountain
goat with huge curved horns) and the chamois (a horned antelope)
inhabit the alpine meadows.
Switzerland has long attracted many foreign artists and writers
including Voltaire, Byron, Shelley, James Joyce, and Charlie Chaplin.
The country provides opportunity for wonderful sight seeing, valuable
shopping and entertaining nightlife.
During the pre-Roman
times, the Helvetii in the west and the Rhaetians and Etruscans
in the east inhabited Switzerland. By the 1st century B.C., Julius
Caesar and the Romans conquered the region and named it Helvetia.
A series of Germanic invasions swept over the Western Roman Empire
in the 4th century ad, and two Germanic groups—the Burgundians
and the Alamanni—conquered Helvetia.
The Middle Ages
The Franks soon conquered the Alamanni in the 5th century A.D and
the Burgundians in the early 6th century. The Franks introduced
a new civilization based largely on Christianity. On the dissolution
of the Frankish Carolingian Empire in the 9th century, most of Switzerland
became part of the duchy of Alemannia, or Swabia, one of the great
feudal states of the German Kingdom; in 1033, Switzerland was united
under the German-dominated Holy Roman Empire. The Swiss area consisted
of a collection of petty states, ruled by dukes, counts, bishops,
and abbots, and a number of small city-states, independent by imperial
charter, which later became cantonal commonwealths.
Struggle for Independence
In 1276, Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf I of the Habsburg dynasty attempted
to assert feudal rights in Switzerland, making his power a threat
to the traditional liberties of the Swiss. To resist Rudolf’s
aggression, representatives of the three so-called forest cantons—Uri,
Schwyz, and Unterwalden—gathered on August 1, 1291, in a meadow
above the Lake of Lucerne, and entered a league for mutual defense.
This event is regarded as the birth of Switzerland. Events preceding
the conflict gave rise to the story of William Tell, Switzerland’s
most famous folk hero. According to legend, a villainous governor
named Gessler were sent by Habsburg authorities to govern the canton
The Swiss fighters routed the Habsburg forces at Morgarten Pass
in the canton of Schwyz, effectively guaranteeing the independence
of the young confederacy.
In the 15th century, the Swiss Confederation was strong enough
to undertake a vigorous program of expansion. Despite Switzerland’s
withdrawal from international warfare, Swiss mercenaries—known
for their great courage and skill in war—became famous throughout
In the 1648, Peace of Westphalia Switzerland won official recognition
as an independent state.
41'285 km (north-south 220 km; east-west 348 km) main geographic
Alps 60 %,
Midlands 30 %
Jura 10 %
7'062'000; of whom non-Swiss 19.3 %; 17.6 % under 15 years; 14.7
% over 64 years
German 64 %, French 19 %, Italian 8 %, Rhaeto-Romanic 1 %, Others
8 % Principal cities Zurich*, Geneva*, Basel*, Berne* (capital),
Lausanne, St.Gallen, Lucerne (* with international airport)
Located in a transition zone, Switzerland experiences varied weather
conditions. In the west, due to strong influence of the Atlantic
Ocean winds bring a lot of moisture into Switzerland and cause rainfall.
East experiences continental climate, with lower temperatures and
less precipitation. The Alps - which run from east to west - act
as a climatic divide. South of the Alps, experiences Mediterranean
climate. In general, spring is wet and cool, summer is supposed
to be warm and dry with maximum temperature up to 35°C (95°F).
Winter is supposed to be cold and dry. The temperature may drop
below 0°C everywhere in Switzerland, especially at night. In
the Alps, they usually get a lot of snow, but even at lower elevations,
there is a good chance that they will get a foot of snow every now
The Swiss currency is called "Schweizerfranken" ("Swiss
Francs") or short "Franken". One hundred "Rappen"
make up one Swiss Franc.
CHF is the ISO representation for Swiss francs; however, the old
notation sFr is still used quite often.
The currency is available in the following coins:
1 Rappen ("Räppler"), no longer in use
2 Rappen ("Zweiräppler"), no longer in use
5 Rappen ("Fünfer")
10 Rappen ("Zehner")
20 Rappen ("Zwanziger")
½ Franken ("Fünfziger")
1 Franken ("Fränkler")
2 Franken ("Zweifränkler")
5 Franken ("Fünfliber")
Roman Catholic 46.1%,
None 8.9% (1990)
People and Society
Switzerland is said to have inhibited by varied people over the
course of history including ancient Etruscans, Celts, Romans, and
Germanic peoples. Today, most Swiss trace their ancestry to Alpine,
Nordic, and southern European peoples. The country’s major
language communities generally define the ethnic composition of
Switzerland: German, French, Italian, and Romansch (Rhaeto-Romanic).
Other ethnicities, including Spanish, Portuguese, and Turkish, make
up about 6 percent of the population
Lying at the intersection of three great European linguistic cultures,
Switzerland has easy access to the culture of the countries on their
Radio and television programs of all the language regions can be
received across the whole of Switzerland. Bookshops have a huge
selection of works in various national languages. In 1998, more
than three times as many books were published in English in Switzerland
than in Italian.