Chur, Switzerland’s oldest city has been populated for at least 5000 years. Due to its strategic position in the Alps Chur had an eventful past: ruled by Celts, Romans, Goths, Germanic tribes, invaded by Saracens and Hungarians. Today, a stunning comfortable city of Chur harmoniously combines chic boutiques, modern galleries with medieval buildings, Baroque churches and a relaxed atmosphere.
The car-free Old Town has spectacular beautifully restored architectural gems. The cathedral of Chur built in 1272 has a stunning 15th-century Gothic gilded triptych, the largest of its kind in Switzerland. Check out the city’s beautiful squares Arcas and Kornplatz, the medieval towers Obertor, Malteserturm and Sennhofturm, the baroque Bishop's Palace, which still serves as the private residence of a bishop, the ancient the Town Hall Rathaus and Hofplatz, a Roman fort. Half of the city is covered in parks and gardens with colourful flowerbeds and fountains where you can escape the bustle of the busy streets.
|The Old Town in Chur|
Chur is also a terminal for several scenic train routes such as the Glacier Express and the Bernina Express with the track between Chur and St. Moritz considered by some as the world’s the most beautiful mountain train ride.
The city’s great location means that numerous hiking trails, the Brambrüesch Mountain, skiing and spa resorts, as well as the Bündner Herrschaft winemaking region are all within a short drive.
|Church of St. Martin|
All year around the city hosts many big festivals and events. Chur City Festival and Alpine Beard Festival in August are filled with music and culinary delights and attended by bearded men from across Europe among which a champion is selected. In August, every two years Chur hosts the open-air Haldenstein Castle Opera festival. Advent in Chur event in December attracts thousands of visitors who come here to see a Christmas market, listen to gospels and gorge on traditional festive treats.
Photos via Flickr by: Tim Venchus, Manfred Morgner, Benjamin Chan.