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Swiss National Museum




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With its many different architectural elements of style, the large castellated building of the Swiss National Museum is a fascinating reflection on the country's cultural diversity.

It is home to the most extensive collection with reference to Swiss cultural history: Pre-history, the Celts and Romans, Middle Ages (Gothic art, religious statues) cultural history tours, national costume, historical rooms.

A prominent section is devoted to pre-history and the early historical period, in particular the New Stone Age, including finds of wheels actually found in Zurich which are among the earliest ever found, and Celtic finds and objects from the Early Middle Ages. Emphasis also falls on the medieval collection with important witnesses of knightly culture and a comprehensive collection of liturgical wooden sculptures, panel paintings and carved altars. Especially famous is Hodler"s monumental fresco "Retreat of the Confederates at Marignano" in the armory.


How to get there :
The museum is located directly behind the Main Train Station.
Public transportation
Swiss National MuseumTram (streetcar) 4,11,13,14 up to "Hauptbahnhof" (Main Train Station).Tram 6,7 And Bus 31 up to "Bahnhofstrasse.

This museum offers an epic survey of the culture and history of the Swiss people. Its collection, housed in a feudal-looking, 19th-century building behind the Zurich Hauptbahnhof, contains works of religious art, including 16th-century stained glass from Tanikon Convent and frescoes from the church of Mustair. Some of the Carolingian art dates from the 9th century. The altarpieces are carved, painted, and gilded.


The prehistoric section is also exceptional. Some of the artifacts are from the 4th millennium B.C. There's a large display of Roman clothing, medieval silverware, 14th-century drinking bowls, and 17th-century china, as well as painted furniture, costumes, and dollhouses of various periods. A display of weapons and armor shows the methods of Swiss warfare from 800 to 1800. There's also an exhibit tracing Swiss clock making from the 16th to the 18th centuries.

Special exhibitions are presented twice annually, lasting between 3 and 6 months. Themes are always different; a recent one was devoted to Swiss fashion design.

At first sight, the Swiss National Museum (next to the main station of Zurich) appears to be a fairy castle or a fortress. The tower, copied from the town gate of Baden, has become a symbol of the city and can be seen from far away. The museum building of 1898 in the historicist style accommodates probably the largest collection in Switzerland devoted to cultural history. In the rambling rooms and corridors of the building visitors can experience fascinating and unexpected views of Swiss cultural history.

Name : Swiss National Museum
Address : Museum Strasse 2 CH-8023
City : Zurich
Type of Museum : History Museum


What it's like :
The Swiss National Museum is actually made up of eight museums spread around the country but the main museum in Zurich is the parent of the group. This is situated in an imposing castle-like building behind the main central railway station. It was officially opened in 1898 and contains an extensive collection of objects that were either produced or used in regions belonging to today's Switzerland.


The museum covers the period from the Stone Age through the Roman period to present times. In the rambling rooms and corridors of the building there is the work of goldsmith and silversmiths, textiles, coins, watches and clocks, furniture and interiors, paintings and sculptures. Of particular interest is the collection of arms and armor, with Swiss-made weapons from medieval times, including impressive crossbows and swords. Also impressive is the series of rooms containing religious objects including gilded altarpieces and 15th century stained glass windows. I happily spent a couple of hours just wandering around but if you had a particular interest in one aspect of the collection you could stay much longer. There are tours available.

Museum Top There is a cafeteria which operates indoors most of the year but outdoors in the courtyard in summer. It is operated by the Zurich Women's Association. Drinks and hot and cold food is available at reasonable prices. In the midst of the exhibition on tourism and the souvenir industry, the museum has developed a function room called Salon Rouge with its own Steinway grand piano. If you have the chance to attend a function there, don't miss it.

The museum opens Tuesday to Sunday from 10.30am-5pm. Admission charge is CHF5 for adults, free for children.

There are two other outlets of the National Museum in Zurich. One is the Museum Barengasse, which showcases the everyday life of Zurich people from 1730 to 1800. The ground floor houses the Sasha Morgenthaler Museum. The other is the Guildhall at Munsterhof 20. The two guildhalls and the balcony between them are embellished with rich stuccos and are startlingly beautiful. The building contains an exhibition of pottery and faience table settings in the 18th century.
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