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Basel is a mixture of a lively, relatively small center of an agglomeration, where 600'000 people work and live in three countries ( Germany, France and Switzerland) and a cultural hotspot in the middle of Europe. It is impossible to see all of it's 37 reputated museums or all of the beautiful old houses ( some are more than 600 years old) during a short trip. The city got it's wealth from the first bridge over the Rhine (1225 ), followed by active trading with salt and spices and finally financial services as well as pharmaceutical products during the last 150 years. In medieval times Basel played a far more important role in Europe than nowadays.
I only try to describe the "must sees" for a weekend tourist, staying two or three days in this city:
- Münster ( main cathedral) and it's surrounding places and narrow lanes
- The City Hall, more than 500 years hold. An impressive bulding at the Marktplatz (market square)
- The Spalentor ("The tower of Basel") ( In mediaval times one of the entrances and "gaps" in the city wall. Massive and standing like a rock!
-next to it in direction to Marktplatz, The Spalenberg and Gemsberg area with lots of intact ,very old historical houses, narrow lanes and many fountains, second to no other city center in Switzerland and as charming as the Trastevere in Rome or the quartier latin in Paris, well, in my opinion. :-)
- The Classic Art Museum ( with paintings from Holbein, Böcklin, dutch painters to Picasso)
- The Fondation Beyeler. One of the top addresses in Europe for modern art.
- The Zoo, 130 years old. It is said that this zoo is one of the most beautiful on the continent.
- The Messeturm ( fair tower). The tallest building in Switzerland. Have a drink at the "Bar rouge" on the top floor.