Basel’s ancient heart brings out my inner historian. The Old Town is intact and compact, draped across three sentinel hills and along both sides of the Rhine. Atmospheric streets lined with medieval buildings lead from the Rhine are meant for wandering, and there are small surprises along the way, such as this plaque dedicated to Venice, an old trading partner.
The Münsterhügel (Cathedral Hill) in Basel, Switzerland has been occupied for 22 centuries. Near the Münster, Basel’s Romanesque cathedral and best known landmark, remains of Celtic and Roman settlements are still visible, a tangible reminder of the city’s long history.
A walk here starts with the imposing former cathedral, and takes you past the regal homes of the city’s silk-ribbon barons, and houses of Savoy nobility that ruled the region centuries ago. Many buildings on the hill pre-date the catastrophic earthquake of 1356.
Here are a few highlights from this historic neighborhood: around the Münsterplatz, along neighboring Rittergasse and down to the Rhine via Augustinergasse, Martinsgasse and Rheinsprung.
The Basel Munster
Take a walk!
The ideal way to learn the stories behind these beautiful buildings, is to join a guided walk. Basel Tourism offers themed walks in the Old Town, and architect Dina Bonefacic-Mihaljek of architecture walks and talks leads excellent tours uncovering Basel’s fascinating history through its buildings and architectural artifacts.