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About city Gallery Where to stay

Geneva, the centre of international diplomacy, is the second-largest city in Switzerland. Sometimes, it’s also called the capital or peace and even of the world, as Geneva is home to the UN, the World Trade Organization, the Red Cross and many other international organizations. Even though most people here speak French, the high number of foreigners who live and work here made English the second-most popular language.

Geneva is a famous centre of science and innovation that emphasises nuclear research, telecommunications, biotechnology research and various science symposiums.

Being part of the Swiss bank system, Geneva attracts investors and businesspeople from all around the world – there’s a reason why the city is known as a hub for the rich: up to 18% of Geneva’s 200,000 inhabitants are millionaires.

Small port with many boats at sunset, Lake Geneva
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Small port with many boats at sunset, Lake Geneva

Geneva is one of the oldest cities in Switzerland, mentioned for the first time well before the current era and made famous by the Christian church reformer John Calvin, who turned it into a true mecca of Protestantism. During the period between the 16th and the 19th centuries, Geneva was also an independent republic. To commemorate its independence, every year the city organizes the L’Escalade Festival, which lasts for three days in December. During the festival, the locals march in a big street parade wearing arcane clothes, playing flutes and drums. This colourful event, culminating in a large bonfire in the city centre, is very popular with tourists.

Every year, the city also hosts an international motor show that attracts hundreds of thousands of people from around the world, a luxury watch fair and a number of industrial exhibitions.

Living in Geneva, it goes without saying, is very expensive, but fairly comfortable: thanks to its 20+ parks, the city is considered to be one of the greenest cities in Europe. Here you’ll also find the renowned flower clock that consists of 6,500 blooms, arranged and re-arranged several times per year. The city centre is known for its Jet d’Eau Fountain, situated at the point where Lake Geneva flows into the Rhône, that squirts water 140 metres into the air – one of the highest fountain streams in the world. If you want to get a better look, be careful not to come too close, as the spatter can be felt up to half a kilometre away.

Bronze sculptures on the waterfront of Lake Geneva
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Bronze sculptures on the waterfront of Lake Geneva

The main attractions of Geneva are concentrated in the Old Town, where you’ll find the St. Pierre Cathedral, the building of which began way back in 1160 AD. The Northern tower of this church opens up on a spectacular panorama of the city. Inside the cathedral is a wooden chair used by John Calvin himself. If you’re interested in this man’s ideas, we recommend you also visit the International Museum of Reformation, where you’ll find many books, manuscripts and etchings.

Another interesting museum is dedicated to the Red Cross and consists of three parts: the defence of human dignity, the restoration of family relations and the reduction of natural risks. Worthy of some extra attention is the Brunswick Monument, a mausoleum built in 1879 to honour Charles II, Duke of Brunswick. This man relinquished all of his wealth to Geneva in exchange for a monument – an exact copy of the Scaliger Mausoleum in Verona.

Panoramic view of Geneva lake
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Panoramic view of Geneva lake

It goes almost without saying that one should also visit the Palace of Nations, located in a stately park, that has a grand assembly hall, a large art collection and a famous library. If you’re after unique architecture, don’t miss the Quartier des Grotte – a district designed without straight lines.

Connoisseurs of Geneva insist that one should not leave the city before trying the famous cheese fondue and crunchy toasted chestnuts, the latter sold on the street straight from the toaster; visiting one of Geneva’s most spectacular cafés, the Café Papon, that’s been serving customers since the 17th century; and investigating the city’s oldest building that dates as far back as 1303.

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