Zurich’s Hidden Gems

Hidden away and somewhat off the beaten track, these cultural locations are worth a visit.  Some of these places are not on the tourist routes or have special opening hours.  Here is a list of the hidden gems that shared by the locals:

Bruno Weber Park

The Swiss artist Bruno Weber has made his own fantasy come true here.  This sculptor makes larger than life, colorful animals that you can climb on, walk through, slide off, sit on and even live in.

Enea Tree Museum

The museum is located in a park close to Lake Zurich. It combines lanscape, botnay, architecture, art and design in one place. There are over 50 trees from more than 25 species in the museum, some of which are more than 100 years old. A further 100 trees and plants are also found in the park surrounding the Tree Museum.

Rechberg Garden

The garden is located between the Kunsthaus and Zurich University.  It is not visible from the streets.  If you get out of the tram at the “Newmarkt” stop, you will find the entrance just a short way up the hill.  The garden is designed in 1970 featuring courtyard, fountains, terraces and extended orangery.

Cloister (Grossmünster)

While many are familiar with the Grossmünster, not many knew that the church also has its own cloister.  It is open to the public during weekdays.  From the main entrance, there is a separate entrance on the left.  The columns and arches feature animal scenes and gargoyles with ornamental plants.  The compilation of the plants was inspired by the naturalist and universal scholar, Konrad Gessner.

Villa Patumbah

The villa is a gem of Zurich garden culture.  On the first floor, you can explore interactive exhibition, architectural monument, and landscape.  On the second floor, there is an Asian temple under a glass dome.

Giacometti Frescos (“Blüemlihalle”)

In 1922, the City of Zurich launched a competition to paint the entrance hall, with the aim of brightening up the gloomy space and creating work opportunities for local artists. The ceiling and vault paintings comprise ornamental floral designs and geometric patterns. The walls, meanwhile, depict people at work: stone carvers and carpenters represent the handicraft trade, while astronomers and magicians denote science.

Archäologische Fenster (archaeological windows)

Archäologische Fenster (archaeological windows), the Department of City Planning shows treasures from Zurich’s past, such as the ruins of a Roman fort, the remains of prehistoric pile dwellings, and the Ehgraben sewer, which reveals how a medieval town dealt with its waste and sewage problems.

However, a key is needed to visit the Ehgraben, Lindenhof-Keller, Stadtmauerkeller, and Brunngasse. It can be collected from Monday to Saturday from the Stadthaus (City Hall) at Stadthausquai 17, Counter 04 on the ground floor (please note opening hours).

Marc Chagall Church Windows – World famous Artwork at the Fraumünster

In the 1970s, Belarussian-born Marc Chagall created a five-part stained-glass window series and a rosette for the chancel of the Fraumünster church in Zurich. Marc Chagall remained true to his motto “When I create something from my heart, almost everything goes well” throughout his whole life.

Urania Observatory 

In the 50m (164ft) high round tower of the Urania observatory, visitors can observe the heavenly bodies through a telescope that allows magnifications of up to 600 times.  The Urania observatory, which opened in 1907, was the first building in Zurich to be made from concrete. It is still one of the most distinctive buildings in the historical Old Town, and has been listed as a protected monument since 1989. The 12-ton Zeiss telescope underwent extensive renovation on the occasion of the observatory’s centenary in 2007.

Enge Church

It is considered the most important Neo-Renaissance church in Switzerland.  This architectural gem, affectionately known by some locals as the “Sacré-Coeur of Zurich”, stands in an elevated location on a moraine hill. Built by architect and ETH professor Alfred Friedrich Bluntschli between 1892 and 1894, it offers a magnificent view of the lake basin and the city.  On every second Thursday from May to September, the sexton of Enge Church invites interested visitors to join him on a tour of the tower and dome.

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