Basel tourist attractions, activities, sightseeing, travel guide.
About half a century ago, Ernest and Hildy Beyeler have begun to acquire modern paintings to adorn their home. Until present days, they had collected one of the greatest private art-collections in the country, which is now shared with the public in the suburb of Riehen, only fifteen minutes by tram from the city center. The impressive collection includes works by van Gogh, Kandinsky, Andy Warhol, Max Ernst, Edgar Degas, Cézanne, Alexander Calder, Mark Rothko, Joan Miró, Léger, Georges Seurat, Georges Braque and Jackson Pollock amongst many others. Although needless to say, all these artists’ works are exceptional, displayed in Renzo Piano’s avant-garde edifice, which reminds of a ship on an anchor. Find out, especially Picasso’s 1944 “Woman in Green”, believed to be his final portrait of Dora Maar.
Zoologischer Garten Basel (Basel Zoological Garden)
The city’s zoological garden was established in 1874 and is one of the greatest and world-known for breeding endangered species. Occupying an area of eleven hectares, in an urban setting, which is within a several minutes walk of the Basel’s railway station, this zoo has some 4500 animals of around six hundred different species. Also one can enjoy a show of trained elephants and sea lions perform various tricks. The Vivarium is also very rich - filled with everything from penguins to reptiles.
Kunstmuseum (Fine Arts Museum)
Basel’s Fine Arts Museum is the oldest museum in Switzerland, offering one of Old Continent’s most notable collections - from the old masters to the twentieth century paintings. You will enter the majestic edifice through a courtyard decorated with sculptures by Rodin, Calder, etc. The collections depict the development of art of the Upper Rhine Valley from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries, as well as works by renowned modern artists.
Museum für Gegenwartskunst (Museum for Contemporary Art)
Museum Jean Tinguely
Jean Tinguely museum is devoted to the work of Jean Tinguely - one of country best sculptors. The seventy mechanical sculptures in the collection cover four decades of artistic work, beginning with reliefs and printing machines from the ‘50s and evolving to later pieces like the “Mengele-Totentanz” cycle and huge clanking meta-harmonies. Also one will find many drawings and writings of the artist, which document Jean Tinguely projects around Europe and the USA.
Münster (Basel Cathedral)
This red sandstone edifice towering over Altstadt (the Old Town) was founded back in distant times - 1019. Ruined by an earthquake in 1356, it was reconstructed along Romanesque and Gothic lines with a green and yellow tile-roof.
Historisches Museum Barfüsserplatz
The Rathaus (Town Hall) on Marktplatz, erected in 1504 in the late Burgundian style dominates the market square of the city. The sandstone edifice is adorned with shields of the ancient city guildhall and decorated with frescoes.
University of Basel, situated on the south side of Petersplatz is another place of interest. Established in 1460, it is one of the oldest academic institutions in the country. The University library houses a collection of rare manuscripts, as well as works by Erasmus, Zwingli Martin Luther; and school’s charter was signed by Pope Pius II.
Spalentor (Spalen Gate)
Situated west of Basel’s university, marks the end of the medieval part. This is also one of the most remarkable gates in Switzerland. Constructed in the 1400s, it was heavily restored in the nineteenth century, and has a pointed roof and 2 towers with battlements.
Dreiländereck(Three Countries’ Corner)
Three Countries’ Corner, which bulge into the Rhine River, is one of city’s most unusual sites. If one walks around a pylon marking the exact spot, in just a few steps he can cross from Switzerland into Germany and then into France – of course without a passport.