Bundesplatz (Federal Square), Bern

Bundesplatz (Federal Square), Bern (must see)

Bundesplatz, also known as Federal Square, is an old plaza in the center of Bern. Bundesplatz is part of the medieval city center, which is a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Site.

As a landmark, Bundesplatz is important to see because it is an excellent starting point for any walking tour of Switzerland's capital city. From Bundesplatz, visitors can easily view Bundeshaus, the Swiss Parliament Building that is otherwise known as the Federal Palace. It is also a short walk to such sites as Kafigturm, Hollanderturm and Kleine Schanze park.

Bundesplatz is meaningful in its own right as well. As the central location of the Old City, visitors can walk on the land that was first settled in the 12th century. Duke Berchtold V of Zahringen chose the area because it was encased on three sides by the Aare, a tributary of the Rhine. The first expansion of the city began in 1191 with several more taking place over the next 300 years.

As traffic grew in Bern, so did the need for parking. Bundesplatz was used as a parking lot from 1945 through 2003. At that time, the site was redesigned with natural stone slabs and 26 fountains that represent the 26 cantons. At dusk, a light band is illuminated that guides a curved path to the parliament building.

Visitors should consider spending an evening at Bundesplatz where they can enjoy the light show at different points throughout the year. Dancing lights are projected onto the Federal Palace three times in the evenings with a fourth performance on weekends.

Why You Should Visit:
More than just a nice place to walk around, there is usually some form of activity going on such as a festival with crafts and food being sold and, weather permitting, you can sit outside and watch the bustle.

Tips
Those who aren't in the city during the light show can still enjoy the illuminated beauty of the Federal Building and the 26 fountains.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Bern. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Bundesplatz (Federal Square) on Map

Sight Name: Bundesplatz (Federal Square)
Sight Location: Bern, Switzerland (See walking tours in Bern)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Bern, Switzerland

Create Your Own Walk in Bern

Create Your Own Walk in Bern

Creating your own self-guided walk in Bern is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Fountains and Statues Walking Tour

Fountains and Statues Walking Tour

With over 100 public fountains in its Old City alone, Bern has a well-deserved reputation as the "City of Fountains". During the medieval time, the local life revolved around fountains since they provided water to residents and served as public places for news exchange and social gatherings.

Bernese used to decorate their fountains and built elaborate statues in the middle of them....  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles
Bern's Historical Churches

Bern's Historical Churches

Bern has an impressive number of historical churches that span several centuries, each featuring a unique architectural style, beautiful paintings and interior decorations. Take this self guided walking tour to visit the most important historical churches and cathedrals where Bern residents go to pray and express their religious beliefs.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 Km or 1.2 Miles
Bern Introduction Walking Tour

Bern Introduction Walking Tour

The de facto capital of Switzerland and the eponymous German-speaking canton, Bern is commonly referred to by the Swiss as their "federal city". Built around a crook in the Aare River, it traces the origins back to the 12th century. According to the local legend, Berchtold V, Duke of Zähringen, founder of Bern, vowed to name the city after the first animal he killed on the hunt, which...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles

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