Friday, August 6, 2010

Welcome to Switzerland

Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is situated in Western Europe, and is bordered by Germany to the north, France to the west, Italy to the south, and Austria and Lichtenstein to the east. The country is landlocked between the Alps, the Central Plateau, and the Jura mountains. Zürich and Geneva, the country’s two largest cities, reign in both economic and global exchange and consistently rank second and third as cities with the highest quality of life in the world. Switzerland is home to many international organizations, including the World Economic Forum, the International Olympic Committee, the Red Cross, the World Trade Organization, FIFA, and the second largest UN office. Although Switzerland’s government founded the European Free Trade Association, they notably remain unlinked to the European Union or the European Economic Area.
Switzerland comprises three main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, and Italian. Residents of many Swiss valleys also speak a deviated form of Roman-Latin called Romansh. The Swiss therefore do not form a nation in the sense of a common ethnic or linguistic identity. The strong sense of belonging to the country is founded on the common historical background, shared values of federalism, direct democracy, and neutrality, and Alpine symbolism. The establishment of the Swiss Confederation is officially dated to August 1, 1291. Swiss National Day is celebrated on the annual anniversary.
Alpine symbolism plays a vital role in the country’s history, national identity, and foreign tourism. Mountain regions thrive on the popularity of ski resorts in the winter and hiking and wandering culture throughout the summer. Folk art is famously expressed throughout the country in the forms of music, dance, poetry, wood carving, and embroidery. The alphorn, accordion, and yodeling epitomize traditional Swiss musical culture. Swiss cuisine offers many common European tastes, as well as the nation’s coveted specialty cheeses and chocolate confectionaries.

No comments:

Post a Comment