The Old City of Bern
is the medieval city center
. Built on a narrow hill surrounded on three sides by the Aare
River, its compact layout has remained essentially unchanged since its construction during the 12th to the 15th century. Despite a major fire in 1405, after which much of the city was rebuilt in sandstone
, and substantial construction efforts in the 18th century, Bern's old city has retained its medieval character.
The Old City is home to Switzerland's tallest cathedral as well as other churches, bridges and a large collection of Renaissance fountains. In addition to many historical buildings, the seats of the federal
and municipal government are also situated in the Old City. It is a UNESCO
Cultural World Heritage Site
since 1983 due to the compact and generally intact medieval core and is an excellent example of incorporating the modern world into a medieval city. Numerous buildings in the Old City have been designated as Swiss Cultural Properties of National Significance
, as well as the entire Old City.
The earliest settlements in the Aare Valley
date back to the Neolithic
period. During the 2nd century BCE the valley was settled by the Helvetii
. Following the Roman conquest
a small Roman settlement was established near the Old City. This settlement was abandoned during the 2nd century AD. From that time until the founding of Bern the area remained sparsely......