Bern is located in the center of Europe and serves as the national capital and center of significance in Switzerland. It is home to 125,000 people, making it the 5th largest city in Switzerland. From many tourists and people across the world, it is regarded as a magnificent and quiet city with yet a lot of bustling and social activities. There is a lot of cultural significance and entertainment to familiarize many visitors to the local publications, expat groups, and Bern life.
Bern’s significance towards Urban Geography is best demonstrated in its transportation methods and its cultural and social life in the city.
Bern is a relatively small city with a variety of good public transportation options in which buses and trams connect all areas of the city. According to the article, “Getting Around Bern,” the author describes the transportation around Bern as “extensive, reliable, safe and easy to use” (Christen). In addition, it also states how easy it is to get around without using cars and how public transportation and bicycling are more often used to get around.
Bernmobil is part of a tariff network called Libero, which shows the map of connected networks of Bern, Biel, Burgdorf, and Solothurn regions. Transportation methods to such areas include buses, tramways, boat, or by car. Bern’s main station is the central point of public transportation networks and is where citizens can buy tickets for buses and tramways. With its pedestrian-filled streets, Bern’s streets are mainly occupied by citizens or buses while cars are more restricted to the main roads.
Switzerland is known for its high quality of living, and its social and cultural life. Its medieval streets are filled with mainly German-speaking native residents and tourists from around the world. The pace of life is slower and more relaxed in Bern during the day even though its streets are filled with busy markets and shops. There are many luxurious jewelry stores, street markets, and large malls that offer a variety of different gifts; mainly located in Bern’s main shopping street: Spitalgasse, and other streets such as Marketgasse and Postgasse. In addition, the various outdoor markets such as those in Bundesplatz, Bärenplatz, and Münstergasse offer fresh produce, cheese, meat, bread, and many other cultural delicacies. However, as the day begins to end, the city is still full of many entertainment and activities such as most famously, its discos and nightclubs. Recognizing great performances, celebrities, and VIP recreation offered by clubs such as the Club Prestige and the hall of Bierhübeli Clubhouse, Bern’s nightlife attracts a diverse audience from around the world due to its unique music, concerts, and talent. For instance, based on the article by Orangesmile.com, the hall of Bierhübeli Clubhouse club “often organizes various events and performances, starting from jazz concerts and retro evenings, to art presentations and parties…known as the real pride of local fans of music” (City Break in Bern). Culturally, these clubs and music groups change often to appeal to the young audience but rarely fail to consistently surprise their diverse customers. For political involvement and decisions, Bern houses the Federal Assembly of Switzerland which serves as a political meeting place where national political decisions are made. This is located in the Federal Palace; consisting of the Swiss Federal Parliament and executive offices of the Swiss government.
Due to its diverse culture and according to the article, Bern Facts and Figures, “Bern’s beautifully well-preserved old town is easy to explore and has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site” (Christen) by the United Nations as having cultural, scientific, and social significance. Some classic tourist attractions are the House of Parliament, Clock Tower, and the cathedral of Bern. According to The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Old Bern, connected by several bridges to newer parts of the city on the right bank, preserves more of its medieval appearance than any other Swiss city. It is characterized by 2.3 square miles (6 square km) of covered arcades, towers, and 16th-century fountains” (Bern National Capital, Switzerland). Some of the notable, religious landmarks in Bern include the Gothic Cathedral; which is a demonstrative landmark in Switzerland with a 328-foot steeple and the Nydegg Church. Once protecting the old walls of the city, the ancient Clock Tower and Cage Tower still stand to provide historical importance. More significantly, Bern even contains Switzerland’s oldest art museum which contains over 3000 paintings and sculptors, and about 48,000 drawings, photographs, and etc. Bern even includes a House of Religions that combines 8 world religions in one building, designed to promote cultural and religious interaction between religious groups such as Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Alevi, and Buddhists. The official website of Bern accordingly states, “Bern is considered a true citadel of culture. The combination of internationally renowned art and unique architecture makes for a memorable visit. Bern is an absolute must for culture aficionados” (Bern Official website). On the day of Bern’s founding, mass festivals are performed and during such holidays, there are colorful parades, music concerts, and fireworks that can be seen all over the city while people in the suburban areas make fireworks. On the day of any traditional event in Bern, fairs, performances, festivals (both outdoor and indoor), and traditional practices are held with light shows, music, and food. However, one of Switzerland’s most famous symbols and landmark is its bear pit. It plays a commemorable role in the founding of Bern’s city name and the first animal killed in the year of the city’s founding.
Overall, the study of Urban Geography in Switzerland is significantly portrayed in its central and capital city: Bern. It is compelling in its intricate transportation networks and methods and its diverse cultural and social activity throughout the city. More profoundly, it shows how a city and its citizens can coexist in a medieval and ancient architectural environment that brings a widely diverse mix of art and culture that also promotes city safety. In effect of Bern’s complex and diverse city life, it ultimately provides a comfortable place for citizens to roam and plays a key role in the progression and preservation of Swiss society.