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Switzerland the Jewel of Central Europe
Nestled in the heart of Central Europe, Switzerland offers visitors a variety of experiences and breathtaking sights. In its compact area of just over 41,000 sq km, the opportunities for sightseeing with ease abound due to its central location and the sophistication of the inhabitants whose cultural heritage and languages include French, Italian, German, and Romansch, and English. The bordering countries are Germany, Austria, Italy, and France. Switzerland's climate is mostly temperate, but varies according to altitude. Accordingly, the landscape offers vistas of snow-capped mountains, waterfalls, glittering lakes, and historic architecture all within close proximity. Rail travel through the Alps, the highest mountains in Europe, offers a view unparalleled.

 Occupied since prehistoric times, the Celtic inhabitants called Helvetians lived in Switzerland from the end of the Roman Empire during the early fifth century. During the Dark and Middle Ages, people of many cultures migrated to Switzerland, creating a rich cultural tapestry. The architectural heritage is ancient and vast, with magnificent cathedrals and edifices dating back to antiquity. Chillon and Lenzburg Castles are popular tourist attractions, offering visitors a view into the feudal system. Christian convents and monasteries with murals painted in the Middle Ages provide a spectacular look into Christian history and influence much of the cultural attitude of the inhabitants today. The city of Geneva was the home of John Calvin during the Restoration. From the 1500s the Swiss have cultivated a policy of neutrality during the European wars.
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 In more modern times, Switzerland has been a Federal Republic since 1848. After the events of World War II, the culture of the Swiss people has been devoted to cooperation and security. Prosperity for everyone is a governmental commitment provided through a system of governmental programs. The population of Switzerland is around 7 million inhabitants.


 Bern, the capital of Switzerland, offers modern dining, nightlife, and shopping. Zurich, the largest city, has become world-renowned as a financial center.

 Basel on the river Rhine is Switzerland's 3rd most populous city, yet it is the second largest urban area in the country. Sharing the border with Germany and France visitors will find cheap flights to Basel.

 With the colorful William Tell as the national hero, and the fictional Heidi as the most famous Swiss character, the unique atmosphere of the small country makes Switzerland one of the most inviting sites in Central Europe. Visitors will want to visit Lucerne's Art Museum as well as the Picasso Museum, which houses an exciting collection of Picasso's work during his last twenty years. The Richard Wagner Museum, located in the home of the composer, also offers a fine collection of antique musical instruments. No other country offers such variety, cultural diversity, and modern convenience as the small but brilliant country of Switzerland.

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