Zürich, Switzerland, the country's largest city and the capital of Zürich Canton. It lies at the northern end of Lake Zürich, some 60 miles (100 km) northeast of Bern, the national capital, and is about 1,350 feet (410 m) above sea level. The Limmat River, which drains from Lake Zürich, flows through the heart of the city. Nearby are the snowcapped Alps.
Zürich is Switzerland's commercial, banking, and insurance center, as well as one of the world's leading financial centers. It is also a chief manufacturing center; products include machinery, chemicals, and textiles and clothing. Publishing and tourism are major industries.
Landmarks in the old quarter include the Grossmünster, a cathedral built during the 11th through 13th centuries; the Fraumünster, a church dating from the late Middle Ages; and the Rathaus (Town Hall), built in the 1690's. Among Zürich's many museums are the Swiss National Museum, with exhibits on Swiss history and culture, and the Kunsthaus, an art museum. The University of Zürich and the Federal Institute of Technology are here.
The area was inhabited by Lake Dwellers in prehistoric times. Later, it was ruled successively by Helvetians, Romans, Germanic tribes, and the Holy Roman Empire. Zürich joined the Swiss Confederation in 1351. Huldreich Zwingli, a Protestant Reformation leader, centered his activities in Zürich, 1518–31.