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The people of Berne love Berne and they show it too. Otherwise not the whole of Switzerland would know that "Marzili" is the most beautiful river bath. Everyone also knows the Federal Parliament building with the "Front". But only the people of Berne know these 21 things.

We would like to thank the news portal Watson for allowing us to make the content of the corresponding article available to our guests on our homepage.


Source: watson.ch, Author: Daniel Huber

The "Senkeltram"

From the cathedral platform in the lower old town the "Mattelift" leads to Badgasse in the Matte district. Of course, the people of Bern do not simply call this lift "Mattelift" - that would not be creative enough. "Senkeltram" is the expression you have to know to pass as a local. 

"No fountain figure"

Would you like to pose as a fountain figure for a while? The fountain in the Postgasse offers the opportunity to do so. Here you can see the fountain sculpture "No Fountain Figure" by the artist Carlo E. Lischetti. Anyone who stands on the pedestal denies the name of the artwork. 

Jump from Schönausteg

A refreshing swim in the Aare river comforts the Bernese citizen completely over the fact that the federal city has to get along without a real lake. There are various places from which one can throw oneself into the Aare; one of the most beautiful is the Schönausteg, a pedestrian bridge at the lower Kirchenfeld. The small bridge is only two metres above the waters surface, so even the most anxious can make the jump into the cool water. But take care: Always look carefully first to see if someone is swimming by below.

Colourful road signs

Road signs are primed blue and inscribed white. Not in Bern - or more precisely: not in the old town of Bern. Here, the signs have five different colours, corresponding to the five districts of the inner city. The colour scheme is said to have been applied as early as 1798, at the behest of General Schauenburg, the commander of the French invasion troops. The painter Franz Niklaus König, who carried out the commission, chose the colours of the tricolour of the Helvetic Republic (red, green, gold = yellow) as well as black and white. 

The stream that flows upwards

At the back the stream flows downwards, as befits a decent body of water. In front it goes in the other direction. The Stadtbach doesn't see much during its run through Bern. Most of the time the water is squeezed into a tube; only now and then there is a little fresh air - for example at Loryplatz. In the Old Town, however, the Stadtbach has a very strong presence: there, in the lower Gerechtigkeitsgasse, it defies all the laws of physics. At least it looks as if the open stream there actually flows upwards. In reality, it is a clever system of hidden loops with which the people of Bern fool the audience. Above the Loryplatz the city stream is also allowed to draw a little fresh air. Here it flows downhill in a well-behaved manner. 

Agony of hell for a Zurich man

All sinners are naked, in this depiction of Judgment Day on the Münster portal. Except for one: one of the damned, who is tormented by the demons in the most evil way, wears a blue and white jacket.For some people from Bern it is clear: this must be a citizen of Zurich, since blue and white are the heraldic colours of Zurich. 

Berns Rialto Bridge

The symbol of Venice in Bern? Almost - if the Bernese monument preservation authorities have it their way. "From a distance, the footbridge is reminiscent of famous historical models such as the Rialto Bridge in Venice", is to be read on a sign that the cultural preservationists have placed in the mat on the Tychsteg.

Sailor's bar in the cellar

The Seamen's Bar on Gerechtigkeitsgasse is only open on Friday nights. In the cellar it can quickly become cramped; the bar is really not big. Also, one should not rashly ring the bell at the entrance, as this means that one buys a round.

Dutch bridge

So all street signs in the old town are red, green, yellow, black or white. Except for one: The sign by the Kornhausbrücke is orange, sorry: oranje. The "Korenhuisbrug" commemorates the 2008 European Football Championship, when around 60,000 festive Dutch people flooded the federal city. Orange fans gathered on the Bundesplatz and then peacefully crossed the Kornhausbrücke towards the Stade de Suisse. 

The cesspool of sin Metzgergasse

Anyone looking for Metzgergasse in Bern will search in vain. It no longer exists - in other words, the alley does, but not the name. Until 40 years ago, Metzgergasse was Bern's sin mile; under the arcades, prostitutes waited for customers. Then the city cleaned up the red-light district and changed the contaminated street name at the same time. The wicked Metzgergasse became the innocent Rathausgasse. 

WC with view

At Kaffee Montag on Gerechtigkeitsgasse, there is delicious chocolate cake and a look back to the Middle Ages: In the toilet the floor is made of glass and it gives a view of the former Ehgraben. This was the sewerage system of the medieval town: an open ditch at the bottom of a narrow alley between the backs of two rows of houses facing each other. 

Short shower for unsuspecting visitors

Several times a minute, water sprays from a roof spout high above Münstergasse onto the cobblestones or on the head of an unsuspecting passer-by - who may have just bent down to pick up one of the five franc coins lying on the ground there.  Futile effort: the coins are screwed into the ground, they are only the bait that is supposed to provide new victims for the spitter. The perfidious work of art was created by the Bernese artist Luciano Andreani. 

The haunted house

The house at Junkerngasse 54 is empty. No wonder: It is Bern's haunted house. Especially female ghosts are said to be at work here. The house was probably always uninhabited and served as a stable for the nearby Von-Wattenwyl-House - but strangely enough it looks like a residential house from the outside. It is rumoured that there is a tunnel from the house down to the river Aare. Maybe that's how the "ghosts" got into the house ... 

The "Ka-We-De"

It sounds almost like the abbreviation for the famous "Kaufhaus des Westens" in Berlin. But the Ka-We-De does not stand for a temple of consumption, but for "Kunsteisbahn und Wellenbad Dählhölzli", it means artificial ice rink and wave pool Dählhölzli. In summer, the open-air pool, which was designed in the 1930s for "the demanding physical culture of the upper classes", attracts visitors with a 60-meter water slide and a legendary wave pool. In return, it is the only open-air swimming pool in Berne that charges admission. 

Traces of the "Stäcklichkrieg"

How strange it is when there is nothing left of a whole house except the part that is damaged. This is exactly the case with the property at Läuferplatz near Mattenenge: the house there is relatively new, but it contains a piece of wall from the previous building in a prominent place. As the inscription below tells us, the stones were hit by a cannonball in the Stäcklichrieg ("War of Sticks") of 1802. When the new building was constructed, they were inserted into the new wall at the same place. 

The stairs to the railway bridge

If you come to Bern by train from the east, you cross the Lorraine Viaduct. The Aare bridge of the viaduct is 327 metres long - and quite high. Anyone who climbs the structure will notice this - which is of course illegal and is expressly not recommended for imitation at this point. The access to the narrow staircase, which leads through the middle of the arch between the pillars to the top of the bridge (33 metres above the Aare), is barricaded. 

The "Loubegaffer"

In the middle of Bern station, there's this figure that keeps looking at you. No matter whether you look from the right or the left. How can that be? Sandro Del-Prete knows. The Bernese artist created the "Loubegaffer". During his six-month art studies in Florence, he read in an old book that there used to be statues looking at you. "I wanted to solve this mystery."

Meeting place Loebegge

Outsiders see here only the entrance of a department store. The "Loebegge", which was already mentioned in "Wachtmeister Studer", is probably the most important meeting place in the city. For a good 15 years - in the pre-mobile phone era - there was a telephone here with which one could only take calls, but not make calls. If someone was late for an appointment at Loebegge, he could call this machine. Whoever was just standing there picked up the phone and then called the name of the desired person into the crowd of waiting people. 

In the West we have "Chäs und Brot"

Where is there a place with such a curious name as "Chäs und Brot" (cheese and bread), if not in Bern? The hamlet is located in Oberbottigen, the most western district of the federal city. According to legend, the Swiss cross was created here during the Battle of Laupen (1339) as the common emblem of the Confederates and their allies. 

Last drink at the Dead End

Here you can do something good when you drink a beer - the private club Dead End on Neubrückstrasse also finances 20 beds in the emergency sleeping area "Sleeper" above the restaurant. There is also a soup kitchen where a meal costs five francs only. The Dead End is also one of the few bars in Bern where you can get a drink even in the early hours of the morning - if you get in at all. 

The "Weyerli"

"Weyer" or "Weyerli" is what the people of Berne affectionately call it: the Weihermannshaus swimming pool in Berne-Bethlehem, which also includes an indoor pool, a restaurant and an ice rink, was expanded at the end of the 1950s. The main pool is 16'000 m2 - that's a Swiss record. Measured by the volume of 25'000m3, the Weihermannshaus is even the largest outdoor pool in Western Europe.