Where is Solothurn?

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St. Ursus Cathedral and the cupcake tower to the right

Where in the World is this place!? Switzerland, my friends. 30 mins drive North from the capital, Bern.  This idyllic town is the perfect setting to satisfy you appetite for All Things Medieval.  Welcome!

Welcome

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According to Wikipedia (and who would doubt the integrity of the source?), the settlement of Solothurn dates back to Paleolithic era. Well, I have not witnessed much influence from those times, but the presence of the Roman Empire is in the air and in the cobble-stone streets.  The fortress, or rather the walls surrounding the city with monasteries (what a diverse lot of those!) and numerous houses of nobility, was first erected around 350 AD. The following centuries and ruling nations (Romans, French, the Swiss and French again) by the 16th century have shaped these walls into the cutest fortress with most delicious 3 cupcake towers!

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And more towers. Some more adopted for living in than others:

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This last one is ancient and is lovingly referred to as the Leaning Tower. Why? Because it is! However, unlike its more famous sister in Pizza, that is leaning due to the unstable ground it stands on, the Leaning Tower of Solothurn is a man-made… well, accident 🙂

Naturally, no Medieval city is truly Medieval without the Market Square and the Clock Tower. Solothurn Clock Tower, built in the 12th century, is truly magnificent, a masterpiece of craftsmanship and an impressive piece of machinery:

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Life & Death, Day and Night, in everlasting dance

The Hour Hand – a large hand with 3 finders raised in oath taking – indicates the time of day.  The Moon Hand – a hand with crescent moon, rotates anti-clockwise (!) – marks the day in the 27-day moon cycle, along with the phases of the Moon. The Sun Hand – a little hand with the Sun – keeps track of the current sign of the Zodiac.

As for the churches, another trademark of a Medieval or – let’s be honest – any old city, Solothurn is quite a treasure box. St. Ursus Cathedral is a Swiss heritage site of national significance. The remains of St. Ursus, an early Roman martyr, are kept here. The first church was build in the early Middle Ages. The Cathedral in its present shape was constructed by the end of the 18th century.

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He sees you – so better be good

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249 winding stone, wood, very old and rotten wood and finally new wood steps eventually brought us to this:

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20141021_143551This is where I leave you, my dears, because there is no better place to stay. Don’t forget to breathe!

Inspired by Jo’s Monday Walk.

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16 thoughts on “Where is Solothurn?

  1. The rewarding view is definitely worth the climb.
    I love how the Swiss have embraced timepieces and made it such an exquisite art form. Somehow I keep forgetting that Switzerland is such an old country.

  2. I like the clock, Elena! But then- it’s Switzerland! That’s what they do- right? 🙂
    There are some great photos and impressions of the place. Happy to provide the inspiration. You’ll have to take me along next time 🙂

  3. I love Switzerland Elena and have been lucky enough to visit there a few times most recently in April when we stayed in Weggis on Lake Lucerne. Although we’ve been to both Basel and Bern we’ve never stopped off at Solothurn though I have seen it on train timetables! I love the pretty architecture and the views are superb – wonderful photos! It is quite reminiscent of Thun which is south of Bern and also not such a well known tourist spot. Bern itself has a marvellous old town too! I will make a note to visit Solothurn next time I’m lucky enough to be in Switzerland 🙂

    • Rosemary, Switzerland indeed is everything one sees in movies and its beauty is irresistible 🙂 Glad you had a chance to visit it – sounds like you had a great stay – will you write about it? We visited the town of Lucerne, too. That’s a story for another post – have you payed tribute to the Heart of Lucerne when you were there? Bern is amazing, too. Wouldn’t it be fun if each of us posted about Bern! May be a kind of “view from different angles” series 🙂

      • Hi Elena, yes I’ve already done a few posts on Switzerland under the category, “Swiss Travels” and also I included Lucerne in my post “Five Places To Go Back To”! I’ve got quite a few more to do but like to mix up my posts however I’m planning to do some Swiss ones in the next few weeks! I didn’t go to Bern on my most recent trip in fact it was in 2010 but should still be relevant and I have some great photos too! Lucerne is wonderful one of my all time favourite places to visit – we were staying in Weggis on the lake in April. We should try and link our posts together somehow if they are the same place “view from different angle” sounds a good idea! Will let you know when I’m planning to so my Swiss posts (I usually do one post per week on a Friday it;s about Vienna this week!) 🙂

      • Yes we were in Vienna this April Elena (and Budapest before that)! I have already done some posts about our visit there but still had one this week’s that I wanted to write about! After Vienna we travelled to Switzerland and Lucerne 🙂 Jo’s Monday Walks are a great idea – I joined in one week as it was specifically a walk I was writing about. Usually I focus in on one aspect in detail which doesn’t really qualify for a walk! Anyway look forward to reading more of your posts and I’ll have some more Swiss ones coming up soon! 🙂

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