Long recognized as one of the world’s most desirable places to live, the regional capital of Bern in Switzerland is also a delightful place to visit. The historic old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The following three spots are not to be missed.
1). Federal Palace. The figurative representation and physical center of the democratic Swiss Confederation is the famous Bundeshaus, the palace and parliamentary complex known colloquially as the Federal Palace. Constructed at the turn of the 19th century, the grounds contain an astonishing array of fountains (26, one for each official Swiss canton), stately statues depicting seminal political figures swearing their oaths of allegiance to the confederation, and two huge murals.
2). Bear Park. The Bärengraben, or Bear Pit, in the old city houses a population of bears that dates back to the 15th century. The bear is the representative symbol of both the city and the canton and is featured on the city’s coat of arms. Suffice it to say, the animal is well-loved locally, and a trip to Bern that neglects their presence is ill-spent indeed.
3). Paul Klee Center. Designed by the architect Renzo Piano, this phenomenal institution dedicated to the life and work of Paul Klee is a wonder. Filled with natural light during the day, and music and performance art in the evenings, the center is home to an extensive collection of art, a sculpture garden, free Internet terminals, and a restaurant. Multi-lingual tours are also available, the likes of which amount to a solid education on the subject of Klee and his impact on the art world.
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