Our expectations toward Switzerland were all about mountains: the wonderful Swiss Alps. Our expectation towards Swiss cities? Having a nice view of the Swiss Alps in the background. 🙂 Well, there’s definitely no mountains to be found near Basel. But it’s such a pleasant and lively city and there’s a lovely old town rich in beautiful architecture. Our favorite piece is the Town Hall.
Why has Basel Town Hall impressed us?
Basel Town Hall (Rathaus) looks more like a castle rather than a Town Hall. I think that explains why we have fallen in love with it immediately. It’s no secret that we love castles. And this Town Hall made us feel that we are back in the middle ages at one of the knight tournament games and the queen can appear on the balcony any time to greet the knights and the crowd. (And our actual knowledge of knight tournament games more or less ends at this point… 😀 )
The other amazing thing about this Town Hall is its colors. Such beautiful, vivid colors! The most dominant is red because of the red sandstone it was built from, but the colorful frescos on the walls and some colorful statues add most of the colors to the list. The largest colorful statue in the courtyard is of the founder of the Roman city of Augusta Raurica (about 10 km from Basel).
Basel Town Hall is built in a Neo-Gothic and Neo-Renaissance style and it was built about 500 years ago (1504-1514). The occasion for building this new Town Hall was Basel joining the Swiss Confederation that time.
Today it still houses the meetings of the Cantonal Parliament as well as the Cantonal Government of the canton of Basel-Stadt.
Guided tours are offered at certain times – more info here (in German). There’s only 1 or 2 occasions per week, so you should be lucky to be there (or plan accordingly – it’s the other option). We did neither and we spent only 1 day in Basel, so we haven’t seen it from inside. Actually, we haven’t even thought we would want to – now we know at least. 😀
What do you think? Do you have a favorite city hall?