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Geneva is one of Switzerland's 26 cantons, found in the southwestern corner of the country along part of the shores of Geneva Lake. Geneva canton is bordered by France on the south, east, and west, and the Swiss canton Vaud to the north. Most of the canton's territory is composed of the city of Geneva itself. However, several rural areas are part of the territory as well. The Champagne region, stretching across the borders of France, contains several historical villages scattered around Lake Geneva, such as Sézegnin, Athenaz, Avusy, and Laconnex, to name a few. In terms of geographical conditions, Geneva is practically surrounded by mountain ranges. Predominant among them is the Jura mountain range to the northwest and the Alps, with its highest peak Mont-Blanc visible from the city, to the east.[3] Towards the end of the Middle Ages, Geneva started to develop and by the 18th century, the city became an industrial, financial, and commercial metropolis.[1] Its status as an international city has been retained to this day, as Geneva is home to several global organizations, such as the United Nations, the Red Cross, and the World Health Organisation.[2] Additionally, on the borders with France is situated the world's largest particle physics research facility, CERN.[11] Beyond these, Geneva offers an abundance of historical and cultural landmarks, as well as nature recreations, either on Lake Geneva with its notable fountain or in the surrounding nature and mountains.[2]

What Geneva is known for

Geneva is known mainly for numerous institutions of international importance that have headquarters or offices in Geneva or its surrounding canton. Among such institutions belongs the United Nations, which has an office settled in Geneva in the Palais des Nations. Palais des Nations (Palace of Nations) is the world's second-largest United Nations center after the UN Headquarters in New York. The palace is located in Ariana park and was built in a 20th-century architectural style. Parts of the palace and conference rooms are open to visitors.[7] The Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room is of considerable interest, as its artistic blue ceiling is often called the "21st-century Sistine Chapel." [8] Another international institution connected to the city of Geneva is the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which was established in the town in 1863. The Red Cross organization's focus is to "ensure protection and assistance for victims of armed conflict and strife," and is nowadays spread around the globe, with headquarters still located in Geneva.[9] Additionally, the World Health Organisation, established in 1948, is also headquartered in Geneva.[10] 

Outside the city borders, but still in the Geneva canton, is The European Organization for Nuclear Research, otherwise known as CERN. The research laboratory was established in 1954 and is, to this day, the largest research center concerned with particle physics. The organization is located on the French-Switzerland borders and comprises 23 member states. CERN is known best as being the research laboratory with the world's largest and highest-energy particle collider, called the Large Hadron Collider, which is placed underground. Since its establishment, CERN has provided several discoveries, such as new subatomic particles. Beyond all else, CERN is also the birthplace of the World Wide Web (www), commonly known as "the web," an information system making documents and other resources accessible on the internet.[11] It is possible to visit CERN and get a free guided tour across the premises as well as of the underground area.[12]

Apart from being a scientific and international hub, Geneva has a long tradition of cultivating culture, philosophy, and literature. Across the city, it is possible to see and visit a considerable number of historical landmarks, such as the Natural History Museum, the Geneva Museum of Art and History, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum, the Ariana Museum, and the city opera called the Grand Théâtre.[2] Another notable attraction in the city is the Jardin Anglais park with its L'horloge Fleurie, or the flower clock. Approximately 6,500 flowers are used to create the face of the watch.[13] There's also a historical connection to Geneva and watches, as the city is said to be the "capital of luxury watchmaking." Geneva's watchmaking tradition can be dated back to the mid-16th century when, it is said, it was banned to wear any jewelry except for the clocks. Thus, Geneva's goldsmiths turned to watchmaking, and the tradition began. In 1886, Geneva released the so-called Poinçon de Genève (Geneva Seal), which was the mark that guaranteed the origin, quality, and reliability of the watch.[14] Another symbol of Geneva is Lake Geneva, with its Jet d'Eau or Water Fountain, with a water jet reaching a height of 140 meters. The fountain reportedly belongs among Geneva's most famous landmarks.[15] 


Geneva canton is located in the Genevan basin, bordered by Lake Geneva to the north, with rivers of Rhone and Arve traversing the territory. In terms of geographical landmarks, the region lies encircled by several mountain ranges, particularly the Jura mountains on its northwest, the Vuache to its west, the Mont-de-Sion to the south, and the Salève to the southeast. Salève is often nicknamed the "mountain of Genevans" due to its proximity and relatively easy access from the canton, even though it is located in France. And finally, to the east of the region can be found the Alps, with the highest peak in Western Europe, the Mont-Blanc, which is often visible from various parts of Geneva canton. Regarding altitude, Geneva's highest peak is located 516 m above sea level in Monniaz. In terms of landscapes, both urban and rural land is part of Geneva canton. Chancy, the westernmost municipality, lies within the Champagne region. Several historic villages, such as Sézegnin, Athenaz, Avusy, Laconnex, Soral, Cartigny, and Avully, can also be found within Geneva's borders.[3] 

Arguably, the predominant feature characterizing the Geneva canton is the Geneva Lake, which stretches across the canton's and state's borders into the France territory. In terms of nature, there are several places in the Geneva region where species diversity is protected and enhanced. One such place is the Bioparc Genève, which houses approximately 250 animals of around 85 different species. The species found in the biopark are from both European and exotic origins. Over twenty mammal species, more than sixty species of birds, including many parrots and cockatoos, and several species of reptiles can be observed in Bioparc Genève.[4] One of Switzerland's most extensive public botanical gardens is the Geneva Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, which are within Geneva canton's borders. The botanical garden aims to preserve and protect the natural flora found in Switzerland. As a result, 40 living collections of plant species contribute to the garden's museum of conservatory and biodiversity.[5]

Regarding the local weather conditions, the climate is tempered by Geneva Lake, while the Jura mountains create a "screen" that reduces rainfall in the Geneva canton.[2] Concerning the average temperatures in Geneva, the warmest month is July, with an average daily temperature of 27°C. January is the coldest month at an average of 5°C. February tends to be the driest month in Geneva due to the average 59 mm of rainfall. The most precipitation falls during October, receiving about 102 mm on average.[6] 


The settlement in Geneva territory was established as an Allobrogian border town, which Romans overtook in 121 BC. In order to prevent Helvetii migration, Ceasar destroyed the Rhône bridge at Geneva and built a 19-mile earthwork from Lake Geneva to the Jura Mountains in 58 BC. At that time, Geneva became a Roman city. However, in 443, Geneva was taken by Burgundy and later by Franks. According to several historical writings, Geneva survived extensive damages caused by the tsunami on Lake Geneva during that time period. Finally, in 1033, German Emperors took the city over.[1] 

During the early Middle Ages, Geneva was ruled by Genevese Counts, whose line went extinct in 1401. Since then, counts of Savoy have been in charge of managing the city. In order to rid themselves of Savoy's reign and Bishop's influence, the Genevans declared themselves Protestant in 1536. Being a protestant city secured Geneva the protection and alliance of Bernese troops and also a place within the alliance of the Roman Catholic Swiss cantons. However, Protestantism didn't appeal to many Genevans at first. The situation was resolved by John Calvin, who supported Geneva during its transformation into a modern city and ensured the traditional institutions would serve new purposes. Beyond unifying Geneva in religion, Calvin opened the city up to immigrants, who brought new trades, industries, and wealth. Thus, Geneva eventually became Europe's industrial, financial, and commercial metropolis. Despite the strong political opposition in Geneva at the time, the city is said to have peaked in terms of its prosperity in the 18th century. The town became a center of Enlightenment, a political science derived from natural law. Yet, by the end of the 18th century, in 1798, Geneva started to decline as the city became under French rule. The French period didn't last long, and Geneva became part of the Swiss Confederation in 1814. In 1864, the internationally renowned organization, Red Cross, was established in Geneva, and subsequently, the League of Nations was founded in Geneva in 1919.[2] 

In current times, Geneva is one of the most populous Swiss Cantons, with the dominant religion among the population having Protestant-Catholic beliefs. In terms of economy and industry, Geneva generates the fourth-largest gross domestic product in Switzerland, with its economy being mainly service-driven. Additionally, it is historically given that Geneva is a trade city. Today, 22% of the world's wool trade is located in the vicinity of Geneva Lake, and around one-third of the world's oil, sugar, grains, and oil seeds trade as well.[3]