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The River Limmat divides the city of Zürich into two distinct halves. It makes more sense to speak about the two banks rather than the new town/old town split. Niederdorf, on the east bank, is full of shops and cafés, but also home to the twin towers of the Grossmunster and the grandiose architecture of the university. The west bank is the old part of town, which is centred around the Lindenhof area where the streets are characterised by fashion outlets and offices. The beautiful spires of St. Peters Church and Fraumunster church, decorated by Marc Chagall, are nearby as well. The curving Bahnhofstrasse follows the course of the ancient city walls and is one of Europe’s most prestigious shopping streets. As Switzerland has cultivated stability and neutrality during both World Wars, the country has built up a reputation for its banking system, which for decades has been one of Zürich’s biggest industries. It is also for these reasons that today the stock market in Zürich is the fourth biggest in the world.
There is so much to see in Zürich. This charming city is largely an intact medieval town with a beautiful natural setting. Here you can find something amazing at every corner: architectural highlights, historic squares, streets and districts, churches, works of art and much more.
The traditional Zürich cuisine is very rich and usually includes plenty of meat. The city’s trademark dish is the ‘Züri Gschnetzlets’, diced veal in a creamy mushroom sauce served with ‘Rösti.’ There are plenty of very good quality restaurants on every corner throughout the city. The area around Bahnhofstrasse generally provides the best atmosphere in the afternoon, while Niederdorf is the place to be for an evening meal.
Zürich has a lot of nice stylish cafes where you can enjoy all the chocolate specialties and homemade cakes that Switzerland has to offer. The cafes here do not only serve coffees and sweets, so do not be surprised if you find full meals and alcoholic beverages on the menu.
The best cafés and bars are located in the area of Niederdorf, especially along the riverside Limmatquai, which is a pleasant place to sit, watch and enjoy a beverage of choice. Live rock and jazz are available in plenty of venues. The city has a burgeoning local scene which offers rich pickings for live music. There is also a dynamic club scene, which covers the gamut from techno to salsa.
The main shopping area in Zürich is concentrated around the city centre, which makes it ideal for pedestrians and tourists. The most famous and one of the prettiest of the shopping areas is the Bahnhoffstrasse where you will find big department stores, fashion shops, accessories, Swiss watches and everything else your heart desires. The Bahnhoffstrasse area is part of Zürich’s banking district, and that is clearly visible in the number of exclusive and upmarket shops available. The area around Langstrasse contains a very cosmopolitan selection of shops and people which makes it a special experience every time you shop or just go there. The pedestrian alleyways around Niederdorf are a shopper’s paradise as there are several boutiques hidden away in a patchwork of alleys. Alongside the River Lammat is the Old Town, which is also a very attractive shopping area. It has fashion shops, jewellery and plenty of other things to offer. It is also in that area of Old town that you will find the smaller and more untraditional shops. It is, for instance, a very good place to find anything antique. Schipfe is the place to find the craftspeople who sell their handmade products along the river.
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