July 30, 2013
0773 SWITZERLAND (Bern) - Old City of Bern (UNESCO WHS)
The city of Bern, Bundesstadt (federal city, de facto capital) of Switzerland since 1848, was founded in 1191 and grew to become the biggest aristocratic city-state north of the Alps and a major power in the Old Swiss Confederacy. The medieval city center, named The Old City, built on a narrow hill surrounded on three sides by the Aare River, has remained essentially unchanged since its construction during the 12th to the 15th century, despite the major fire from 1405, and the substantial construction efforts from the 18th century.
The Old City, designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, is home to Switzerland's tallest cathedral as well as other churches, bridges and a large collection of Renaissance fountains. In the background of the postcard can be seen the Zytglogge (Time Bell), the medieval clock tower which is the landmark of the city. It has existed since about 1218-1220 and was one of the earliest public timekeeping devices. After the third expansion of Bern, it was converted into a women's prison. In the Great Fire of 1405, the tower was completely burned out. The structural damage would not be completely repaired until 1983, when was generally restored to its 1770 appearance.
In the middle of Marktgasse is Schützenbrunnen (Marksman Fountain), build in 1543 by Hans Gieng in front of the muskets protect house. It was moved in 1931, and in 1939 was placed in the current location. Among the flags hoisted along the street are the one of Confederation (red, with a bold equilateral white cross in the centre), the one with coat of arms of Bern (a yellow diagonal band on a red field, charged with a black bear walking upwards toward the hoist), and the war flag of the Ancien Régime (a white cross on black and red flames).
About the stamps
The first stamp, depicting even Old City of Berne, is part of the series UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Switzerland, about which I wrote here. The last one, dedicated to the Venice Biennale, was issued on 2013.
Old City of Bern - Wikipedia
sender: Zasa Lein (direct swap)
sent from Bern (Bern / Switzerland), on 11.06.2013