New for old? History and modernity complement each other in the Canton of Bern
In Bern, visitors experience exciting contrasts in the smallest of spaces. Urban zones with a futuristic atmosphere spread around charming, traditional old towns.
Stroll through Thun’s Old Town and the first thing you’ll notice are the colourful façades of tightly packed houses, whose elevated pavements shone just as brightly in their heyday. The architecture of bygone eras can also be seen in Bern, where the six-kilometre-long arcades lined by Renaissance sculpted fountains are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Completing the trio, the upper and lower towns of Burgdorf in the Emmental lead to the best-preserved Zähringen castle in Switzerland.
Switzerland’s most beautiful farmhouses
It’s impossible to imagine the Bernese Oberland without its traditional chalets. The wooden houses with a gable roof are popular holiday homes and often have ornate façades. Visitors can glimpse the heyday of agriculture in the farmhouses of the Emmental, rightly considered among the most beautiful in Switzerland. Many of these consist of a dwelling, stables and storehouses. The latter would often feature paintings and inscriptions to symbolise their residents’ wealth.
As a structure, the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern clearly points to the future. Its three hill-shaped sections are characterised by curved lines, while the 150-metre-long glass façade fits quite naturally into the landscape. Bern’s Westside shopping centre and the KKThun have an equally modern image. With plenty of light, oblique angles and starkly contrasting shapes, these futuristic architectural works enrich the canton’s cityscapes.