Template:Infobox Swiss town

Basel (English traditionally: Basle , German: Basel , French Ble , Italian Basilea ) is Switzerland's third most populous city (188,000 inhabitants in the canton of Basel-City as of 2004; the 690,000 inhabitants in the conurbation stretching across the immediate cantonal and national boundaries made Basel Switzerland's second-largest urban area as of 2003).

Located in north-west Switzerland on the river Rhine, Basel functions as a major industrial centre for the chemical and pharmaceutical industry. The city borders both Germany and France. The Basel region, culturally extending into German Baden and French Alsace, reflects the heritage of its three states in the modern Latin name: "Regio TriRhena". It has the oldest university of the Swiss Confederation (1460).



Basel has Switzerland's only cargo port, through which goods pass along the navigable stretches of the Rhine.

EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg, known as Euroairport, shares its facilities and services between Switzerland and France. The airport lies in an exclave in France; a national border runs through the airport terminal.

Basel has long held an important place as a rail hub. Three railway stations—those of the German, French and Swiss networks—lie within the city (although the Swiss (Basel SBB) and French (Basel SNCF) stations are actually in the same complex, separated by Customs and Immigration facilities). A goods railway complex exists as well.

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A panoramic view of Basel

Industry and trade

An annual Federal Swiss trade fair (Mustermesse) takes place in Kleinbasel on the right bank of the Rhine. Other important Fairs include "Basel" (Watches), Art, Orbit and Cultura.

The Swiss chemical industry operates largely from Basel, with Novartis, Clariant, Ciba and Hoffmann-La Roche headquartered there. Pharmaceuticals and specialty chemicals have become the modern focus of the city's industrial production. Some of the chemical industry's most notable creations include DDT, Araldite and LSD.

Numerous major Swiss banks maintain central offices in Basel, giving finance a pivotal role in the local economy. The importance of banking began when the Bank for International Settlements located within the city in 1930. Basel's innovative financial industry includes institutions like the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. Responsible for the Basel Accords, this organization fundamentally changed Risk Management within its industry.

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Basel Town Hall

Basel has Switzerland's tallest building, Basler Messeturm.

History and science

Basel traces its history back to at least the days of the Roman empire settlement of Augusta Raurica. The city's position on the Rhine long emphasised its importance: Basel for many centuries possessed the only bridge over the river "between Lake Constance and the sea". In 1356 an earthquake caused extensive damage in the city.

Basel became the focal point of western Christendom during the 15th-century Council of Basel.

See also: pharmacopoeia


The Romanesque Mnster, with its two (uneven) towers forms an architectural monument which survived medieval earthquake. The tomb of Erasmus lies inside the Mnster.

Basel is also host to an array of buildings by internationally renowned architects, such as the Beyeler Foundation by Renzo Piano, or the Vitra complex in nearby Weil am Rhein, comprised of three buildings by Zaha Hadid (fire station), Frank Gehry (design museum), Tadao Ando (conference centre), Mario Botta (Jean Tinguely Museum and Bank of International settlements)and several buildings by Herzog & De Meuron (originally from Basel, but otherwise known as the architects of the Tate Modern in London).


Basel hosts Switzerland's oldest university, the University of Basel, dating from 1459. Erasmus, Paracelsus, Daniel Bernoulli, Leonhard Euler and Friedrich Nietzsche worked here. More recently, its work in tropical medicine has gained prominence.


Geo-politically, the city of Basel functions as the capital of the Swiss half-canton of Basel-Stadt, though several of its suburbs form part of the half-canton of Basel-Landschaft or of the canton of Aargau.

Famous people from Basel


Basel has a reputation in Switzerland as a successful sporting city. The soccer club FC Basel continues to be successful and in recognition of this the city will be one of the venues for the 2008 European Championships, as well as Geneva, Zrich and Bern. The championships will be jointly hosted by Switzerland and Austria.

The largest indoor tennis event in Europe occurs in Basel every October. The best ATP-Professionals play every year at the "Davidoff Swiss Indoors".

In 2002, the World Judo Championships took place in Basel.

Basel features a large soccer stadium, a modern ice hockey hall and an admitted sports hall.


Basel has a reputation as one of the most important cultural cities in Europe. In 1997, it contended to become the "European Capital of Culture". In May 2004, the fifth EJCF choir festival will open: this Basel tradition started in 1992. Host of this festival is the local Basel Boys Choir.

Basler Zeitung is the local newspaper.

Chronological table

Year Event
< 58 BCRauracian (Celtic) agglomeration on the Rhine
58 BCExodus of the Helvetians and Rauracians (Battle of Bibracte)
44-43 BCLucius Munatius Plancus founds the Roman colony Colonia Raurica, that will later become colonia Augusta Raurica
12 BCThe oppidum of Basel is one of the supporting points for the Roman troops during the campaigns of Tiberius against the Rhaetians
1st centuryOccupation of the Agri Decumates (southern Germany); the Roman fortified place of Basel becomes a vicus.
3rd centuryAlemanni invasions. The Roman Vicus of Basel becomes again a fortified place
To be continued....

External links

de:Basel als:Basel es:Basilea fr:Ble it:Basilea he:באזל la:Basilea id:Basel nl:Bazel (Zwitserland) ja:バーゼル no:Basel pl:Bazylea pt:Basilia ro:Basel sv:Basel eo:Bazelo zh:巴塞尔


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