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Chur, Switzerland

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Chur, SwitzerlandChur, Switzerland
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authorshipBartosz Makara
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Chur is the capital city of Graubünden canton in eastern Switzerland. The city of 33,000 people (2011 estimate) covers 28.01 sq km (10.81 sq mi) and is situated 593 m (1,946 ft) above sea level.

Chur is an ancient city that has seen human habitation going back to prehistoric times. According to archaeological excavations, Chur has one of the oldest settlements in Switzerland, with the Pfyn culture dating to 3,900 BC. This is due to its location on ancient trade routes between the Alpine passes and Lake Constance.

Under the Romans, a settlement was established here called Curia Raetorum. During the reign of Roman emperor Diocletian, Chur was the capital of the province of Raetia. In the 4th century, it became the first bishopric north of the Alps. After the departure of the Romans, Chur was invaded by the Ostrogoths, who renamed it Theodoricopolis. They were subsequently replaced by the Franks in the 6th century, the Magyars and Saracens in the 10th century, and by the Holy Roman Empire from AD 958.

When the Reformation swept through Chur in the 16th century, the Catholic bishopric was ejected from the city. This was around the same time that the German language prevailed over Romansh in Chur. It became the capital of Graubünden when the latter became a canton of the Swiss Confederation in 1803.

Araschgen, a neighborhood in ChurAraschgen, a neighborhood in Chur
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authorshipAdrian Michael
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Chur has a well-preserved Old Town. To the west is the Obertor, the western city gate. The Church of St Martin is located in the Old Town, surrounded by the old buildings. To the eastern side of Old Town is the cathedral and bishop's palace.

Visiting Chur

You can easily reach Chur from Zürich by train. There are two trains to Chur every hour. If going by car, take the E43 expressway and turn off it at Exits 16 (north) or 17 (south).

Sights & Attractions in Chur

  1. Bad Passugg
    Spa town located 5 km to the southwest of Chur.
  2. Bischöflicher Hof
    The Bishop's Palace is a complex of buildings on the terrace east of Old Town. It occupies the site of the old Roman fort. It owes its presence appearance to renovations carried out in the 18th and 19th centuries.
  3. Brambrüesch
    1,600 m (5,250 ft) peak, reached by cable car from the south of Chur. The mountain has several scenic hiking trails.
  4. Bündner Kunstmuseum
    Museum of fine arts housed in the 19th century Renaissance villa of merchant Jacques Ambrosius von Plant. The paintings and sculptures are the work of local artists of the 18th to the 20th centuries.
  5. Bündner Naturmuseum
    Museum devoted to showcasing the natural environment of the Graubünden region, with displays of minarels to stuffed animals.
  6. Chur Cathedral
    Dating back to the mid-13th century, the cathedral bears elements of Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles. The nave has Romanesque columns and Gothic vaulting. The highlight of the cathedral is its 15th century altar triptych.
  7. Kirche St Luzius
    One of the main churches in Chur, it is dedicated to the missionary who introduced Christianity to the area. The building overlies its crypt that dates back to the 8th century.
  8. Kirche St Martin
    Completed in 1491, the Church of St Martin was built in the late-Gothic style. It replaces an earlier church building from the 8th century.
  9. Obere Gasse
    The main shopping street of Chur running from St Martin's Square to the Obertor.
  10. Rathaus
    Chur's town house, built in the Gothic style in 1465, replaces an earlier one destroyed by fire. Its ground floor was once used as a market place. Two council chambers occupy its upper floors.
  11. Rätisches Museum
    Museum explaining the history of Chur with displays of artifacts from prehistoric times right up to the 19th century.
  12. Regierungsplatz
    The seat of the Chur cantonal authorities occupies a number of historic buildings on the northern side of Old Town.

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