Thursday, October 29, 2009

Zürich Archeological Underground Tour

The group at Lindenhof, where our tour started
with the Roman ruins underfoot.

Last Sunday, I organized a little private tour for the Swiss Expat Bloggers with Zürich Tourism. The tour was called 'Archeological Windows' and was a tour of Zürich's archaeological highlights, including the Roman remains under the Lindenhof, the old city walls, and even a medieval sewage system under the Niederdorfstrasse. Unfortunately, this tour is only run on a private basis, but everyone really seemed to enjoy going underneath the city and seeing some of the hidden jewels of Zürich's past, so I would highly recommend going on the tour if you get a chance. Here are a few of the highlights that we saw:

 Medieval painting
Rosemarie, our wonderful guide that got a few extra keys to places not originally included on the tour, as we opted for the longer 3 hour tour, showed us a medieval painting in a former dance hall/entertainment hall. This painting is inside a private apartment in the Niederdorf area and was totally beautiful even today.

Exhibit with the old city walls and
interesting drawings of Zürich in medieval times

Near the city library, we entered a building that has pieces of the old city wall in the basement. It was cool to be under the city and see the hidden jems - old sewer pipes and pottery, too. There were lots of interesting drawings on display as well of how the city used to be set up - and something about deer living inside the moat. Does anyone remember what was up with the deer in this next photo?! Help! :) This deer street is now called Hirschengraben though - get it?! Deer... Hirsch!!! Nice. Anyway, we also looked at this Murerplan a lot - a medieval map of Zürich which shows all the water wheels and how Bahnhofstrasse used to be a cow path. :) (zoomed in version here)

This is just a sign I saw on the tour - the person who this is meant for will recognise it I hope. :)

Medieval Sewers
Another highlight was walking through a tiny, itty bitty door on Niederdorfstrasse, into a medieval sewer. I have to admit - the Zürich Tourism does a great job as all these secret places have great signs and information (underground that is) if you have enough time to read it all. My favorite was an informational sign for the sewer display that said, 'Even in the middle ages, the big question was, 'What do we do with our poo?''... ok it did not say that exactly, but something like that. Oh I loved it. It killed me.

Speaking of which, here is a monk that slipped on some poo and was like, 'Man, I wish we had running water already.' Ok so it did not say that either, but I wish it had! You can see the straw above the loo for wiping back then. Ouch!

Inside the Helmhaus - only enterable by key.
We also went underneate the Helmhaus, the site of Zürich's first church which was built by Karl der Grosse on the site where two of the city's Saints, Felix and Regula, were decapitated, then walked 40 paces up a hill where they then collapsed and were later buried. You can still see a rock down there where the supposed decaptation took place under the Helmhaus!

If you are a history buff like Jace, I am sure you would remember more of the details, but even for a non-history buff like me, it was a fun tour... I did not even mention or show pictures of the Roman baths under the city that we saw or the new stained glass windows open for viewing at the Grossmunster Church... both sites open full time to the public...oh there was so much more. If you also have a post about this trip, please leave me a comment to your blog so I can share your feedback!

Again, thanks to all for coming on the tour and hopefully we can arrange another for those that missed out on the first. If you are interested, leave a comment on the Swiss Expat bloggers network or here.

Archeological Windows Tour - Zürich Tourismus
Private tour run by appointment in your language of choice
Maximum 20 people
+41 44 215 40 88

Also check out the write up on this tour from:

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Amanda said...

just posted something about the tour - love your shot of the Helmhaus!

Kathy said...

Jessica, we loved the tour. Thanks for organizing it. Getting caught up on posts and will have our pics up soon.

Westy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Westy said...

thank you thank you thank you so much for doing this. I had a great time!!! My wife said I was bouncing off the walls for a few hours showing her all the pictures.
-Heath Westfield


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