Basel - town of Euro Championship
However, you would take with a glass of beer as well as some essential foodstuffs.The organizers prepared in Basel (its history and places of interest will be described below) so called „refreshment zones“ extended as football playgrounds. According to price-indications, derived from last Championship in Germany, we can judge that 1 beer (1liter) could cost EUR 10-12, small beer could cost EUR 3-5 - these are estimations only - for your orientative information. There appeared news in a press, that prices for beer in Austria could be higher as in Switzerland. Concrete comparison - beer 0,4 l: in Vienna - EUR 4,5 and Basel - EUR 3,-. The Austrians are angry but soon we know what the reality is. Anyway, Czech fans, equipped with a tonn of tins of beer, do not have trouble in this sense. Note: in Basel there are taken place regularly Beer Festivals!
The town of Basel is situated in north-western part of Switzerland, not far from borders with Germany and France. This fact causes bilinguality of local inhabitants, these two languages are used even in offices without making no difference. The Rhine-river flows through town centre of Basel, dividing it in two parts, Small and Great Basel. The second one became cultural as well as business centre. As to industry, you find here especially chemistry and pharmaceutical production.
The town´s history started to be written since Roman Empire time period, concretely since 44 B.C. At that time, Romans founded here their first community, named Basilea. As Basel is placed on border of three states, there was no distress of conflicts. The town was occupied by other neighbouring nations (Alemans, Franks or Burgunds). The town became an important scene of several counsils, trying to improve the relations especially in Catholic Church. The unsettled town´s history was interfered by invasion of Hungarians. As a result of these attacks, there was a fact that the town was equipped with fortifications. Basel was joined to Swiss Canton Federation in 1501.
At present, Basel is to be understood as a typical Swiss town, where characteristic skills of this nation predominate - i.e. production of watches of best quality as well as production of chocolate. Its neighbourhood with Germany and France forms the town as very important traffic junction and important exporting point, taken from economical point of view. So, local standard of living is here on very high level. Basel is specialised for tourist traffic (as any greater town in Switzerland), using presentation of architectional buildings and ruins of Roman time-period.
Very important position in economy has a banking as everywhere in Switzerland. Thanks to its position, Basel is considered as typical Swiss town. You can see everywhere many small red flags with white Helvetian cross. If you wish to „taste“ something of history and sightseeings, you cannot leave a walk round Marktplatz Square. This forms an independent nucleus of town with dominant red coloured Town Hall Building. In front of this, they are taken place regular markets and festivals. In the course of Footbal Championship, there will be effected here music and art show. After a walk, you can have a relax, sitting in one of many restaurant-gardens, tasting one of local delicatess - cheese fondue, more and more popular in our country, too. Romantic moments could be found on each step, we are sure. Maybe, you can find it at evening-relax in Pfaltzerstrasse. From here, there is marvellous view on Rhine-river and historic nucleus of town. You may notice one reality: the elegance of ancient buildings with an university and modern glass-buildings of multinational companies, as, for instance, the pharmaceutical colossus of Novartis.
Maybe, such Basel could admire even today Erasmus of Rotterdam, famous Dutch philosopher of Renaissance period, he had an affection for this town, indeed.
History is - in case of each town - most important phenomenon, and it is really a challenge to investigate it. Anyway, visit of museums could be helpful - such as Roman Museum (archaeological collections from near finding-place), Kunstmuseum (Art and Graphic Museum), Jean Tinguelty Museum (Art Subjects Museum), Papiermuhle (Museum of Paper Works - it is possible to manufacture your own piece of paper).
As to Chruch monuments: it is big choce, of course. As mentioned above, the town accommodated several Church congresses in 15th century. Balser Munster, Cathedral of 11th century, is considered as most important building and Town Hall of 16th century, together with fortifications and entrance gate - old more than 700 years - are characteristic constructions of town.
As to shopping: provided you wish to buy something interesting, would you visit Freie Strasse in order to buy goods of luxury quality. This is inconspicious small street full of boutiques of world´s brands. As to foodstuffs and delicatesses: you find it in small shops situated in Rue de Sauvage.
Cultural live will be concentrated - during Championship - along 3 kms long boulevard situated between Railway Station Bahnhof SBB and Railway Station Badischer Bahn. Anyway, railway station becomes an important traffic junction. Taking a train, you arrive by direct train from Prague to Bahnhof SBB (EN-Night Train - 352 Johannes Kepler, via Ustí/Elbe and Dresden direct to Basel - approx. 1000 kms.) Train operates on Mondays to Thursdays only (Prague - departure 20,30h - journey takes 15 h approx.
For your journey to Basel you can take low-cost fligths, too - but in this case you could not transport such enormous quantities of beer tins, necessary for consumption!
However, Czech Team will not spend a long time in Basel, remaining matches in its group will be played in other Swiss town - Geneve. To this town, next article will be dedicated.
Text: Jan Chaloupka
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