Neuchatel is a beautiful little town in Switzerland situated on Lake Neuchatel, but it is a city. It was an anachronistic holdover from the middle ages well into the 19th century. It's feudal past almost brought newly founded Switzerland and the Kingdom of Prussia to declare war on each other in the middle of the 19th century. Today, it has a university and is a center for tourists visiting the beautiful lakeside countryside and the Jura Mountains.
Everybody knows London, where the kings and queens of England were crowned and where the United Kingdom crowns kings and queens to this day. We know Rome where emperors were crowned for a thousand years. Most might know Aachen as the place where the kings of the Eastern Franks were crowned. But do you know Solothurn, where the kings of Burgundy were crowned for over 500 years?
Geneva is mostly seen as the seat of the United Nations and the International Red Cross. This is flattering, but it is also a very old city full of history with a unique international charm. At some time or another, it was capital to three kingdoms, home to a handful of saints and to many more less saintly. Situated on Lake Geneva (in French Lac Leman), it is a beautiful place to spend some days of a holiday.
The Swiss city of St Gallen is linked with high quality embroideries used by leading fashion designers around the world. It is also a beautiful town with a long history and a picturesque historic city center. At its very center stands the magnificent monastery dedicated to St Gall with its baroque cathedral and UNESCO World Heritage library.
Basel is a cultural center with more than 60 museums. The city's special geographical situation bordering both Germany and France has brought forth peculiarities, such as three railway stations in the town center and a trinational airport. It is also a city steeped in legend, most of which is fervently believed by its inhabitants.
When German archaeologists found Queen Edith’s remains in 2008, they were baffled and confounded. The remains had been found in a grave in Magdeburg's cathedral. Nobody had expected the find. True, documents mention her grave in the cathedral, and the grave had been a prominent one marked with her name. Then why the confusion?
Bern (or Berne, or Berna) is usually referred to as the capital of Switzerland, which it isn't. The first mistake lies in calling the Confoederatio Helvetica Switzerland; Switzerland doesn't exist. And of the Helvetian Confederation, it is the seat of the Federal Government and as such is quite simply called Federal City and never capital. The Swiss constitution shuns the term capital. Bern's history goes back quite a long way before all that happened, and part of that history allows you to go shopping in town on a rainy day without getting wet.
When Emperor Otto I went looking for a wife for his son, he wanted it to be a political statement. As the first Emperor from German stock, he was looking for acknowledgement by the other half of the Roman Empire. A princess of the house of Byzantium it had to be and nothing less. Once that goal was achieved, the newcomers went out of their way to show how much they appreciated the gesture.
Shakespeare gives the famous description of "Bohemia, a desert country by the sea" in his play A Winter’s Tale. Bohemia today is part of the Czech Republic and one of the greenest and most beautiful holidaying regions in Central Europe. But there was system to the madness of Shakespeare's description.
Hohenstaufen Frederick II, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and King of Sicily and Jerusalem, was and still is regarded as a medieval thinker and philosopher breaking a lance for enlightenment and tolerance. As a proof thereof, his friendship with Muslim leaders is cited most often. The question is, is there any proof of this claimed friendship?