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Tourist Places To Visit In Basel
Basel is the third most populous city in Switzerland. It is located near the borders of France & Germany, so the city is an eclectic blend of multiple personalities. Basel is a commercial hub and has the 2nd largest economy in Switzerland after Zurich. Some of the most loved tourist places to visit in Basel are its many museums, historic buildings and scenic gardens. The Rhine river runs through the city making all its landscapes 10 fold more beautiful and romantic.
Basel Cathedral also known as Basel Münster adorns the skyline of Basel with its prominent and striking towers and patterned roof. It was built on the grounds of a Roman Fort. The church was built sometime between the 9th and 13th century. It was re-built in the 14th century after the earthquake in 1356. While many of the furnishings have been destroyed, there are still many treasures that were found and are now placed in the historical museum. When visiting, you must check out the St. Gallus doorway, the crypt and its many frescoes, monuments and ancient architecture.
Right at the centre of Basel’s old town is the Marktplatz (Market Square) which is buzzing with people throughout the day. One of the most prominent buildings on the square is the Town Hall also known as Basel Rathaus which is a bright red building, built in the 16th century in gothic style. The courtyard has many paintings from the 17th century and is a must-see. The statue near the staircase outside is of Munatius Plancus, the founder of the town and dates back to the 16th century. Also visit the Regierungsratssaal, Grossratssaal and the council chambers.
Haus zum Kirschgarten
If you want to get a sneak peek into a luxurious home in the 18th century, visit Haus zum Kirschgarten. It is one of the finest houses in Basel and was home to a businessman who manufactured silk ribbons. The home is now turned into a beautiful museum that showcases the home life of a patrician. You can walk through 25 furnished rooms and see beautiful exhibits including a watch & clock collection, a porcelain collection, silver collection and also interesting scientific instruments.
Paper Mill Museum
An old Paper Mill of Basel has been turned into a museum that showcases printing, writing and paper making processes. The machinery is still functional and makes for an interesting watch. You will also learn more about the evolution of the printing industry up to the 1980s. There are also displays that show the development of writing from pictographs to modern typography.
The toy museum has a collection of over 6000 toys! It includes all kinds of toys like stuffed animals, dolls, shop models etc. Their dollhouses are quite exceptional and a must-see for people of all ages. The displays are not only historic but are also newly commissioned works. The museum has one of the largest collections of teddy bears – around 2500 of them! This is definitely a one-of-a-kind museum and a must-visit when you are in Basel.
The Spalentor is a fortified gate that goes all the way back to the 14th century. It was part of the walls that once surrounded the Old Town and was one of the few entrances into the town. Today, only the gate exists while the walls were destructed. If you climb the ramparts you will get a splendid view of the city and the background landscapes. On the left of the gate, you will find a letterbox (built in the 19th century) which has the Basel Pigeon emblem on it. Adjacent to the gate is St. Peter’s church, a beautiful 15th-century building with wonderful frescoes.
A very popular tourist spot in Basel is this fountain that was designed by a local Swiss artist by the name of Jean Tinguely. It is a one-of-a-kind type of a fountain with different machinery and figurines made of iron that sprinkles out water. It was built in 1977 replacing an old theatre stage. The theme of the fountain still resembles a theatre stage, where the figurines are actors and actresses, dancing in perfect harmony.
Museum of Art
The Kunstmuseum (Museum of Art) has some of the finest exhibits and collection of paintings in all of Switzerland. It has a mix of classics as well as modern art. It was renovated in 2015 to add more exhibition space. The first floor houses a large collection of Dutch and French paintings including the famous Heilsspiegelaltar by Konrad Witz of the 15th century, a Rembrandt original from the 17th century and more. In the 2nd floor, you will find newer collections from the 19th and 20th centuries including works of Van Gogh, Braque, Chagall, Klee, Picasso and many more.
In the outskirts of Basel is the Roman archaeological of Augusta Raurica which has one of the most well-preserved theatres in all of Switzerland. It is located in the southern bank of the Rhine River, 20km east of Basel. A Roman Festival is celebrated here every year in August with gladiator fights and musical concerts.
Located in the outskirts of the city, this botanical garden is one of the best places to have a day full of beauty, fresh air and enchanting views. The highlight of the place is its collection of Irises, which is the largest in Europe with over 1500 different species of this beautiful flower. Other exhibits that you must visit are the English Garden and the Rhododendron Valley. The park is 18 hectares of colourful delight. There is a café within the park which will take care of all your nutrition needs.