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Basel-Stadt is the smallest of the 26 Swiss cantons. Located in the northern part of Switzerland, Basel-Stadt neighbors Germany to the northeast and France to the northwest. Within the country, the canton is surrounded by Basel-Landschaft. Basel-Stadt straddles the Rhine river and, as it is mainly composed of Basel City, the canton is relatively highly populated. Two other villages are part of the Basel-Stadt canton, Bettingen, and Riehen, located north of the Rhine River.[3] Historically, Basel used to be the capital city of Basel canton and was also considered the intellectual center of the German Renaissance. Several world-renowned mathematicians, philosophers, and scholars are reported to have come from Basel. However, due to disagreements between the rural and town populations of Basel canton, the territory was divided into Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft in 1833.[2] Nowadays, the historic city of Basel serves as one of the predominant touristic attractions of the Basel-Stadt canton.[6] Additionally, Switzerland's largest carnival takes place in Basel every year. The carnival in Basel is inscribed on the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage list.[9] It's been reported that the best time to visit Basel-Stadt is during the months of May, June, July, August, and September.[5] 

What Basel-Stadt is known for

The city of Basel arguably is the biggest draw to the Basel-Stadt canton. Basel has been inhabited since prehistoric times and is said to have served as an important intellectual center throughout history. Thus, history and culture are some of the predominant attractions the city has to offer. The older commercial and cultural center, called Grossbasel, is found on the south bank of the Rhine. Romanesque and Gothic-style Minister is presumably the most notable site in the Grossbasel city part. The minister was consecrated in 1019 and served as Basel's cathedral until 1528. Nowadays, the minister can be visited, and it also is the last resting place of Erasmus of Rotterdam, who is said to be one of the influential scholars of the Renaissance, who lived and taught in Basel. Other historical landmarks in the city include the Gothic Rathouse (the town hall), the Church of St. Martin, and the former Franciscan church, which is nowadays used as a historical museum. From three surviving city gates, of considerable significance is the Spalentor from the 15th century, which is said to be one of the "finest in Europe." Additionally, the city is home to Basel University. Due to its long historical tradition, the university library contains some historically-significant manuscripts by Martin Luther, Erasmus, Huldrych Zwingli, Philipp Melanchthon, and others.[6] Carnival in Basel, held annually, is one of the prime events in the city. Due to being the largest festival in Switzerland, Carnival in Basel has been inscribed on the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage list.[9]

In terms of outdoor activities, the city of Basel can also offer a zoo, which attracts numerous people, especially families with kids. Moreover, at the city borders is located the Lange Erlen Tierpark, which is a free-entrance Zoo housing mostly local animals. Some of the native wild animals which can be seen in the Tierpark are red deer, fallow deer, chamois, fox, wild boar, lynx, wild cat, and eagle owl. The zoo also houses a couple of bird species and other animals.[8] 

Several relatively influential personalities were either born or lived and worked in Basel-Stadt. From the scientific and mathematic fields, the Bernoulli family, who described fluid mathematics, came from Basel together with Leonhard Euler, whose work revolved around the calculus of variations. Additionally, the aforementioned Erasmus von Rotterdam came from Basel as well. World-renowned psychiatrist Carl Jung and philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche were also born in Basel. Concerning today's personalities, presumably, the most pronounced name is Roger Federer, often referred to as the "best tennis player of all time." [7]


With an area of 37 square kilometers, Basel-Stadt is the smallest of Switzerland's 26 cantons. Located at the northern border of Switzerland, the city lies at the so-called "knee" of the Rhine, at the confluence of the Rhine and its smaller tributary, Birsig. Regarding the geomorphological constitution, Basel-Stadt is Switzerland's second flattest canton, with a maximum height difference of 277 meters. The lowest point is the Rhine, whereas the highest is represented by the center of a hamlet within Basel-Stadt's border, called St. Chrischona. The whole Basel-Stadt territory is divided by the river Rhine into the northeastern and southwestern parts. Municipalities of Bettingen, Riehen, and part of Basel City, cover the northeastern part of the territory. The rest of the canton, formed mainly by Basel City, lies southwest of the Rhine River.[3] 

Despite Basel-Stadt's territory being mainly composed of the city itself, several green areas are also found within the canton's borders. One is Wiese Landscape Park, a six square kilometers large plain running along the river Wiese in the northern part of the canton's territory. Wiese is a landscape park shared across the border with Germany. There are several walking and hiking trails to be found within the park. Regarding nature and animal populations inhabiting the local area, the local mixed forests contain species such as larkspur, hornbeam, and several deciduous trees.[4] 

Located in the central part of Europe, Basel-Stadt's climate is primarily continental. Concerning the average temperatures in Basel, the warmest month is July, with an average daily temperature of 26°C. January is the coldest month, with 5°C being the average during that time. February tends to be the driest month in Basel due to having 44 mm of rainfall on average. The most precipitation falls during May, receiving an average of about 101 mm. Reportedly, the best time to visit Basel is during May, June, July, August, and September when there's the highest probability of experiencing moderate weather conditions, with temperatures ranging between 20-26°C.[5] 


The Basel-Stadt territory has been inhabited since ancient times. The earliest traces of inhabitation found within the territory date back to the Paleolithic period, when the City of Basel's land was settled. Some of the main settlement areas of the Bronze and Iron Ages were the banks of the Rhine River and Cathedral Hill. Celtic tribes came to the territory in the first century BC. They constructed a settlement fortified by the "Murus Gallicus," also known as the Gallic Wall, whose remains can still be seen near the cathedral. During the Roman era, Basel territory became part of the Roman Empire.[1] 

Before the Protestant Reformation, during the Middle Ages, the city of Basel continually grew in wealth and importance. In 1459, a university was established in the town, which led to Basel becoming an intellectual center of the German Renaissance. Beyond others, Erasmus of Rotterdam taught at Basel University. Additionally, Johannes Petri and Johann Froben set up early print shops in the city.[2] The historic Basel Canton, which incorporated both the Basel-Stadt (the town) and Basel-Landschaft (the rural area), was divided in 1833 due to political quarrels and armed conflicts between the two parts. The disagreement concerned the rights of the population living in rural areas, leading to the separation on August 26th, 1833. Since then, there has always been an effort to reunify the Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft. However, when the referendum was held in 2014, most of the Basel-Landschaft population voted against reunification.[3] 

In current times, Basel serves as an important center for foreign trade, contributing to the total Swiss Customs revenue by one-third. It is also an essential European railway node and a river port. Basel also serves as the headquarters of the Swiss chemical and pharmaceutical industry. Concerning the population, the prevalent demographic is German-speaking. Christianity is the most relatively the largest represented religion, namely the Protestant and Roman Catholic Church.[3]