Conference’s participants are kindly invited to join one of the excursions offered on Tuesday 13.09 to discover the city of Zurich! All the excursions will take place in the afternoon right after the end of the sessions.

Zurich Museums

Zurich is a home to over 50 museums. We have chosen the most popular holding objects of cultural heritage related to archeology, art and history of ETH (Semper Observatory):

  • National Museum:

    The National Museum, which stands next to the Main Station, is reminiscent of a fairytale castle. On show in the rooms and halls of the National Museum is the largest collection documenting the cultural history of Switzerland: handicrafts, everyday objects, sculptures, and paintings from prehistory to the present day tell a host of interesting stories. In addition, the National Museum examines socially relevant topics in various special exhibitions.

  • Kunsthaus:
    At the Kunsthaus Zurich, art enthusiasts and novices alike can immerse themselves in the world of the Old Masters, discover Swiss artists such as Giacometti and Fischli/Weiss, or admire Impressionist or contemporary art. Installations such as the immersive “Turicum Pixelwald” by Pipilotti Rist, video installations, temporary exhibitions, workshops, and guided tours make a visit here an unforgettable experience.

  • Museum Rietberg:
    A visit to the Museum Rietberg, not far from Lake Zurich, takes visitors on a journey around the world: the collection comprises treasures from Asia, Africa, America, and Oceania, as well as elaborately carved masks from Switzerland. Besides its permanent collection, the Museum Rietberg is known for its impressively staged special exhibitions, which are renowned all over the world.

  • Museum für Gestaltung:

    The listed building from the 1930s is an outstanding example of Swiss modernist architecture and a real must-see for architecture enthusiasts. The exhibition, “Collection Highlights”, presents design icons such as the Rex vegetable peeler, the Swiss Army Knife by Victorinox, and typefaces such as “Helvetica”.

  • Kunsthalle Zurich:
    The Kunsthalle Zurich exhibits works by young and established contemporary artists. It features artistic approaches that tackle current issues in the world of art and their social context. The Kunsthalle is committed to presenting modern art and also offers talks with artists and experts as well as film viewings and other events.

  • Semper Observatory:

    The former Swiss Federal Observatory was designed and built by the architect Gottfried Semper in the 1860s. Over the years, generations of researchers have glimpsed the vastness of space from here. Explore a chapter of scientific history, discover an architectural gem in the heart of Zurich – and reach for the stars!

Zurich City Tours

Zurich has numerous attractions that can be seen in just a few hours’ visit. We have chosen the most popular tours, which are related to cultural heritage, archaeology and nature:

  • Old town walking tour:
    Einstein, James Joyce and Wagner and many other famous personalities lived in Zurich and enjoyed walks and views of the lakeside and 2 rivers of Sihl and Limmat. In this two-hour walk through the old town, we go searching for clues to the city’s past in its hidden alleyways and picturesque squares.

  • Reformation in Zurich:
    1519 – the year that changed Zurich. Ulrich Zwingli became lay priest at Zurich’s Grossmünster church, putting Zurich at the heart of the Reformation. He also paved the way for a social welfare system, the core of which remains unchanged to this day. In this tour we stroll past the majestic facades of the most important churches in downtown Zurich, visit commemorative plaques and monuments, and discuss the key stages in the work of reformer Ulrich Zwingli.

  • Zurich’s coffee houses:
    Travellers to the orient brought coffee to Europe in the 17th century. The new-found beverage was forbidden in Zurich until the 18th century. 100 years later, numerous coffee houses flourish in the city by the Limmat and nurture an intellectual culture and lively atmosphere. In the beginning of the 20th century Zurich is home to many European intellectuals and cultivates the reputation of a Paris-inspired metropolis. The guided city walk gives an insight into the development of Zurich’s colorful coffee house culture, from its origins until today.

  • Water in Zurich tour:
    Zurich’s cityscape is adorned with over 1200 public fountains – with fresh, crystal clear drinking water that everyone can enjoy for free. On this tour, you will learn the importance of the Sodbrunnen and Zisternenbrunnen fountains that date back to the Middle Ages and visit a selection of heavily symbolic fountains such as the Hercules Fountain and the Lindenhof Fountain, dedicated to the brave women of Zurich.

  • Architecture tour:
    This walking tour takes around two hours and introduces architecture fans to significant buildings in Zurich’s inner city. Between the majestic State Museum and Sechseläuten square, you will be guided past monumental constructions like the main train station, both universities, as well as numerous guild houses and religious buildings.

  • Botanical garden:
    The garden with the tropical houses presents around 7000 plant species. The 5.6 hectare garden was laid out in the 1970s and shows on the one hand recreated habitats as in the Mediterranean Garden and Alpinum. Thematically arranged are the kitchen garden and the medicinal plant garden. The pond with its various habitats and aquatic inhabitants attracts many visitors. The three domes of the show houses are striking. The view axes north-south and west-east, kept free by large trees, are special and give the garden size and space.

Archaeology and geology of Zurich

Archaeology and geology of Zurich are central to the LIP research. The selection of tours highlights this research:

  • Archaeology tour:
    Fans of archeology can watch history come to life in the heart of Zurich´s old town. On this tour, we delve into the mysteries of the Ehgraben medieval sewage system, track down the old city walls and enjoy a stunning view from the Roman fortress. Everywhere you look, you will find sites of historical significance, as we stroll through the alleyways and foundations that still exist today. Nothing is as captivating as seeing original artifacts before your very eyes and understanding their value and significance for modern Zurich and the city’s history. This is the perfect tour for anyone keen to learn more about Zurich’s long-forgotten secrets.

  • Lindenhof:
    A tour guided by archaeologists from Stadt Zurich will focus on archaeology and the history of the oldest buildings in Zurich. In the 4th century, a Roman fort stood on Lindenhof – and in the 9th century, the grandson of Charlemagne built a regal palace as a place of residence on the very same site.

  • Pile dwellings in Lake Zurich area:

    Zurich was already inhabited over 5000 years ago. The people lived in so-called pile dwellings, or stilt houses, erected high over the water in a kind of terraced house settlement. It is estimated that from 3234–2727 BC, between 130 and 300 people lived in a village built on the site where Sechseläutenplatz is located today. A tour guided by archaeologists from Stadt Zurich will comprise information on pile dwelling archaeology, dendrochronology, diving and site management.

  • Quaternary Geology of Uetliberg:
    A guided tour of the geology and geomorphology of Zurich’s house mountain Uetliberg. Highlights are the Early Pleistocene Deckenschotter outcrops, as well as Middle Pleistocene and Last Glacial Maximum glacial landforms; all of which are underpinned by the Miocene Molasse sandstones and conglomerates. The breathtaking view of the city of Zurich and the moraines along Lake Zurich allow to envision how the landscape looked during the Last Glacial Maximum.

  • Focus Terra – Geological City Tour:
    Did you ever ask yourself what kind of building stones were used in Zurich throughout the centuries? What material the ETH main building, the Zurich main station or the National Museum are built of? How glacial deposits shaped the cityscape? Where all the different fronts, paving stones and fountains come from and what they consist of? Or do you just want to see the city from a new perspective?