Zytglogge/Clock tower, Bern, Switzerland


Bern, Kramgasse mit Zeitglockenturmc.
Publisher: G. Metz, Basel

Google Street View.

First it was a fortified guard tower, then a prison, a lookout and fire observation tower, and finally a clock tower. Over the centuries, this landmark has fulfilled different functions for the city of Bern but has always played a key role. As Bern continued to grow and expand its city limits, the former guard tower gradually found itself closer and closer to the city center. After the devastating fire of 1405, the structure was rebuilt and given a new identity. Now known as the Zytglogge (Clock Tower), it began telling time for the inhabitants of Bern. As the official timekeeper, its location could not be more central and from then on, the locals listened for it to strike the hours. The tower was also an authoritative building for other matters in the capital city. For example, official travel times were measured from the Clock Tower and marked on stones along the cantonal roads. The ancient length measurements of cubit and fathom – which are still marked today in the tower entrance as meter and double meter – served as the reference length and for official checks.
Bern.com

“Details of the Zytglogge tower in Bern, Switzerland”, Sketches by cobbler journeyman Sebastian Fischer of Ulm, 1534 (from Wikimedia Commons

When it was built around 1218–1220, the Zytglogge served as the gate tower of Bern’s western fortifications. These were erected after the city’s first westward expansion following its de facto independence from the Empire. At that time, the Zytglogge was a squat building of only 16 metres (52 ft) in height. When the rapid growth of the city and the further expansion of the fortifications (up to the Käfigturm) relegated the tower to second-line status at around 1270–1275, it was heightened by 7 metres (23 ft) to overlook the surrounding houses. Only after the city’s western defences were extended again in 1344–1346 up to the now-destroyed Christoffelturm, the Zytglogge was converted to a women’s prison, notably housing Pfaffendirnen – “priests’ whores”, women convicted of sexual relations with clerics.[4] At this time, the Zytglogge also received its first slanted roof. In the great fire of 1405, the tower burnt out completely. It suffered severe structural damage that required thorough repairs, which were not complete until after the last restoration in 1983. The prison cells were abandoned[6] and a clock was first installed above the gate in the early 15th century, probably including a simple astronomical clock and musical mechanism. This clock, together with the great bell cast in 1405, gave the Zytglogge its name, which in Bernese German means “time bell”.
. . .
The Zytglogge’s internal layout has changed over time to reflect the tower’s change of purpose from guard tower to city prison to clock tower. The thirteenth-century guard tower was not much more than a hollow shell of walls that was open towards the city in the east. Only in the fourteenth century was a layer of four storeys inserted. The rooms above the clockwork mechanism were used by the city administration for various purposes up until the late 20th century, including as archives, storerooms, as a firehose magazine and even as an air raid shelter. The interior was frequently remodelled in a careless, even vandalistic fashion; for instance, all but three of the original wooden beams supporting the intermediate floors were destroyed.
Wikipedia.

The Clock Tower (Zeitglockenturm) was Bern’s first western city gate (1191 – 1256) and formed the boundary of the first city extension. Today it is one of Bern’s most important sights. The ornate astronomical calendar clock was created in 1530. The tower clock was the city’s main clock and therefore had an authoritative function in Bern. It was from there that travel times indicated on the hour stones along the cantonal roads were measured. Length units – formerly cubit and fathom, today meter and double meter – for public inspection are displayed in the arch of the gate.
Zeitglockenturm

Photos of inside

“Kramgasse mit Zeitglockenturm und Zähringerbrunnen” (Kramgrasse with the clock tower & statue), Adolf von Graffenried, c.1830 (from Wikimedia Commons).

In 1527, the Zytglogge’s movement had broken down. A local blacksmith by the name of Kaspar Brunner who had no previous experience in horology won the construction bid to repair the movement for around 1,000 Bernese Gulden. By 1530, Brunner had completed the astronomical clock’s new movement – even adding additional new features in the process. This new movement is still being used to power the Zytglogge today, without any major breakdowns along the way! For this great mechanical feat, Brunner is remembered fondly in Bern.
Montres Publiques

A journey inside Bern’s whimsical clock tower reveals how clicking gears and dancing bears changed the meaning of time. Deep inside a medieval watchtower, Markus Marti presides over the passage of time. Several times a week in the heart of Bern, Switzerland, the retired engineer leads a small group of visitors up a twisting narrow staircase. Then, using a wooden baton as a pointer, he explains how a maze of iron parts powered by a swinging pendulum has, second by second, counted off the last half millennium.
BBC Travel

The Zähringerbrunnen (Zähringen Fountain) is a fountain on Kramgasse in the Old City of Bern, Switzerland. It is a Swiss Cultural Property of National Significance and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Old City of Bern. The Zähringerbrunnen was built in 1535[2] as a memorial to the founder of Bern, Berchtold von Zähringer. The statue is a bear in full armor, with another bear cub at his feet. The bear represents the bear that, according to legend, Berchtold shot on the Aare peninsula as he was searching for a site to build a city. The armored bear carries a shield and a banner, both emblazoned with the Zähringen lion.
Wikipedia.

Barengraben (Bear Pit), Bern, Switzerland


Bern. Bärengraben
Postmarked 1927
Publisher: Photoglob

Google Street View.

Legend has it in 1191 Duke Berthold the Fifth swore to name his newly founded town after the first animal he killed in on a hunt the surrounding forest, which turned out to be a bear. The town embraced this bear-centric world view and decided that if they were going to be called bear, they should have some bears. In 1513, the first bear pit was set up in the city near the Käfigturm (Cage Tower) in what is present day called Bärenplatz (Bear Square.] This bear pit was relocated in 1764 to the Schanzengraben (Moat) in Bollwerk, in front of the gateway to the city. The final, still visible bear was opened on May 27, 1857. . . . In an age before animal rights, the bears were treated inhumanly and kept crowded in the small pit, resulting in fights between the bears and the resulting injuries. Fed a vegetarian diet, onlookers tossed bits of cheese to the well fed animals. The bears did occasionally get their fill of meat when an eager onlooker tumbled head over heels into the pit.
concert venue from time to time.

Atlas Obscura

The first records of bears being kept in the city come from 1513, when the chronicler Valerius Anshelm described how the Bernese returned home victorious from the Battle of Novara, carrying both the captured standards and a living bear as spoils of war. The first bear pit was at what is still called the Bärenplatz (Bear Plaza). The current pit is the fourth such enclosure, following on from pits at various locations around the city, and was first opened in 1857.[1] In 1925, a smaller adjacent pit was added to raise the young bear cubs. Between 1994 and 1996, the Bärengraben was completely renovated to improve conditions for the bears. Despite this, the keeping of bears in what still remained a bear pit led to many complaints. This, as well as new legal requirements, prompted a rethink of how the bears should be kept. As a result, the BärenPark was opened in 2009, on the steeply sloping land between the Bärengraben and the bank of the River Aar. The original bear pit and the BärenPark were linked by a tunnel, allowing the bears to make use of both spaces.
Wikipedia.


“Bärengraben in Bern”, from Wikimedia Commons

Barques, Lake Geneva


Barque du Léman
1900s
Publisher:Comptoir de Phototipie, Neuchatel

Lots of pictures (in French)

The magnificent sight of large wooden sailing boats silhouetted against the backdrop of the Alps is returning to Lake Geneva. A small but growing number of traditional barques are transporting schoolchildren and tourists back to the glory days of the lake. There are currently three renovated or replica barques, which are peculiar to the region, operating on Lake Geneva. They provide a poignant reminder of when these vessels were the principal means of transport in the region.
Traditional barques back in service on Lake Geneva (swissinfo.ch)

Now that the racing boats are ashore for the winter, it gives me the opportunity to talk about the old sailing barges that were used on Lake Geneva in the 18th and 19th centuries. Some of those still exist and a group of enthusiastic sailors have built a replica called La Demoiselle which is now one of the biggest sailing craft in Switzerland, soon to be the first sailing training ship in the country. These sailing barges are an evolution of older designs and appeared on the lake around 1785 and are characterized by two latin sails, a large deck to transport materials and a long flat keel. Some of them sport a small jib as well. They were basically used to transport merchandise, in particular quarry stones from the east part of the lake to the different cities on the other side. Most were built in St. Gingolphe which sits on the border between Switzerland and France, some close to Geneva and others on the French shore of the lake.
Sail World


Barque du Leman
Dated & postmarked 1914
Louis Burgy & Co, Lausanne

(Via Google Translate)
A Lake Geneva barque (also known as a Meillerie barque ) is a type of boat with the main characteristics of a tall ship. These boats are powered by lateen sails (or by motor for the models renovated at the end of the 20th century) and are intended for lake navigation. This type of boat is used on Lake Geneva and was originally used until the beginning of the 20th century to transport heavy raw materials. . . . The boats of Lake Geneva were intended for boating activities and the transport of heavy materials, in particular that of cut stones from the Meillerie quarry in Haute-Savoie. Transport by boat made it possible to transport these building materials to the various ports on the lake, in particular to Geneva in Switzerland. They then used the inland waterways of Lake Geneva, having as other activities to ensure maritime transport and the transit of goods between the shores of the lake, or even commercial cabotage between the various ports of Lake Geneva.In 1900, Lake Geneva had sixty boats in operation. Since the middle of the 19th century , the activity of transporting goods has decreased, competing with road or rail transport, which is in full development.
. . .
Built of wood (generally local wood), the boats of Lake Geneva were designed to carry heavy materials directly on their decks. In their design, the risk of capsizing is sought to be avoided thanks to a wide beam (between 6 and 9 meters). They could thus carry up to 180 tons per trip. . . . The hull is most of the time built using oak beams , the keel is, for its part, made up of a piece of white fir supporting the frames . The bridge, made of larch, is curved so as to allow the loads to be distributed by arching effect and houses a lazarette. The length of the rudder can vary from 4 to 6 meters in total length — rudder and tiller.
Wikipedia.

Axenstrasse, Switerland


Galleries an der Axenstrasse mit Blick auf Vierwaldstättersee u. Brisenstock
[Galleries (the open bits on the side) along the Axenstrasse with views of Vierwaldstättersee (Lake Lucerne) & Brisenstock (the mountain)]
c.1910
Publisher: E. Goetz, Lucerne

Google Street View.

The engineer, Landamman (cantonal council’s president) of Uri, and Federal Councillor of State Karl Emanuel Müller (1804–1869) initiated the first road for horse-drawn carriages. Construction on a new road to connect Flüelen to Brunnen began in 1861, and was completed in 1865. The name of the Axenstrasse refers to one particular part of the mountains the Axenstrasse circumvents and traverses, the 600 m (2,000 ft) high, vertical rock between Flüelen and Sisikon, actually a farmed meadow terrace (Ober Axen and Unter Axen) right below the much higher Rophaien (2,078 m (6,818 ft)). The route, especially in the part south of Sisikon, involves many open passages with rock galleries and numerous openings in the west tunnel walls viewing Urnersee as a result of the tunnel blasting through the calcareous rock. The road costs were 842,000 francs in 1865, half of which was paid for by the federal government of Switzerland. Between 1937 and 1939, the Axenstrasse was altered to suit modern traffic in lieu of horse-drawn carriages, and a lane in each direction for road traffic was paved. Many sections of the old Axenstrasse were also closed to automotive traffic to serve as hiking trails
Wikipedia.

The road was built along steep cliffs on the east side of Lake Lucerne, weaving through many rock fall galleries and tunnels along its route. Adverse weather conditions are common. Ice and snow can be on the way. Upon completion in 1865, the Axenstrasse was the first way to get to Uri that did not involve navigating Lake Lucerne. The route between the Axen Mountain and Flüelen existed in 1776 as the Landstrasse (country road). Construction on a new road to connect Flüelen to Brunnen began in 1861, and was completed in 1865. It was named the Axenstrasse because the road is located along the Axen Mountain.
Dangerous Roads


Axenstrasse mit Bristenstock
[Bristenstock is the mountain]
1900s
Publisher: Photoblob Co, Zurich

Kapellbrucke, Lucerne, Switzerland


LUZERN – Kapellbrücke
Postmarked 1902

Google Street View.

The Kapellbrücke (literally, Chapel Bridge) is a covered wooden footbridge spanning the river Reuss diagonally in the city of Lucerne in central Switzerland. Named after the nearby St. Peter’s Chapel, the bridge is unique in containing a number of interior paintings dating back to the 17th century, although many of them were destroyed along with a larger part of the centuries-old bridge in a 1993 fire. Subsequently restored, the Kapellbrücke is the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe, as well as the world’s oldest surviving truss bridge. It serves as the city’s symbol and as one of Switzerland’s main tourist attractions.

Part of the bridge complex is the octagonal 34.5 m (113 ft) tall (from ground) Wasserturm, which translates to “water tower,” in the sense of ‘tower standing in the water.’ The tower pre-dated the bridge by about 30 years.
Wikipedia.

Lucerne is especially well-known for its wooden bridges. Today, the Chapel Bridge runs from the New Town on the southern bank of the Reuss to the Rathausquai in the medieval Old Town, zigzagging as it passes the impressive Water Tower. Lucerne’s landmark is considered to be Europe’s oldest covered bridge. It was built in 1332 and was originally a part of the city fortifications. The pictorial panels, which were incorporated in the 17th century, contain scenes of Swiss history as well as the Lucerne’s history, including the biographies of the city’s patron saints, St. Leodegar and St. Maurice. Lucerne’s water tower is a powerful yet attractive construction. This octagonal tower – over 34 meters high (111.5 ft.) – was built around 1300 as part of the city wall and used as an archive, treasury, prison and torture chamber.
Switerland Tourism


On back:
Luzern. Inneres der Kapellbrücke.
Publisher: Emil Goetz, Luzern


Bridge in 1996 (photo by me).

Lucerne, Switzerland


Luzern mit Pilatus.
(Lucerne with Pilatus))
c.1910
Publisher: Emil Goetz, Luzern

Google Street View (location).

Central building: Lucerne Railway Station

A new station was opened in 1896 with a large new building with a distinctive cupola. It was turned at almost 90° to the original station with its end to the north towards the bridge to central Lucerne, requiring a significantly changed approach line. The new approach had no level crossings of streets unlike the original route, but instead ran on embankments or in cuttings. The Brünig railway was also integrated into the new station. The tracks were electrified in 1922 along with the line from Olten. By 1910 the new station was nearing its capacity limits and an expansion plan was developed. However, the start of World War I prevented any work being carried out. On the morning of 5 February 1971 fire broke out in the staff quarters of station. The building burnt fiercely, and within an hour the cupola had collapsed, destroying the station frontage and concourse.
Wikipedia.

Building on left: Friedensmuseum (War and Peace Museum), moved to a new location in 1910.


(From Wikimedia Commons.)

Both buildings can be seen here.


Seenachtfest Luzern
Fête Vénitienne Lucerne

c.1910
Publisher: Photoglobe, Zurich

Fluelen, Switzerland


Flüelen mit Bristenstock (3074 m)
(Flüelen with Bristenstock (3074 m) [in the background])
c.1920
Publisher: Photoglob Co, Zurich

Google Street View (location).

Flüelen formed an important transshipment point on Switzerland’s transport system for many centuries, and at least since the opening of the first track across the Gotthard Pass in 1230. The various routes across the pass reached Lake Lucerne at Flüelen, and until the latter half of the 19th century the lake provided the best onward link to the cities of northern Switzerland.
Wikipedia.