The architecture and culture of Switzerland has been influenced
by the heritage of France, Italy and Germany, and can be seen in
the unique architecture of its cities and towns.
Throughout the country the tradition of folk art flourishes,
through dance, music, wood carving and embroidery. However,
melodies, patterns and styles of all these arts vary greatly from
region to region, making Switzerland a fascinating place to
Food and drink
Switzerland's cuisine is diverse, and while you'll find dishes
like fondue, raclette or rösti throughout the country, each region
has a distinct food culture, tempered by differences in climate and
Traditional Swiss cuisine uses ingredients shared by other
European countries, but also creates distinctive cheeses such as
Gruyère or Emmental.
Western Switzerland features many fine dining establishments,
and wine is very popular. Switzerland is noted for its grapes
variety, mainly because of the large variations in terroirs, with
unique mixes of soil, air, altitude and light. Wine is mainly
produced in Valais, Lavaux, Geneva and Ticino.
High-quality chocolate is a key Swiss product. Made in
Switzerland since the 18th century, it increased in status
alongside innovative techniques that allowed production of
chocolate to a very fine quality.
The perfection of milk chocolate by the Swiss chocolatier Daniel
Peter in 1875 was a further breakthrough that made the product even
more popular worldwide.
Since 1848, the Swiss Confederation has been an independent
federal state of autonomous cantons, some of which have a history
of confederacy that goes back more than 700 years, arguably putting
them among the world's oldest surviving republics.
Did you know?
Year upon year, the Swiss are the world's largest consumers of
The famous triangular Toblerone bar is a Swiss creation,
produced by Jean Tobler from 1867.
The International Red Cross symbol of protection is based on a
reversal of the Swiss flag, in honour of Red Cross founder and
Swiss native Henry Dunant.
Facts and figures
||German, French, Italian and Romansh
||Central European Time
|Independent federal state
||12 September 1848
||41,284 sq km / 15,940 sq miles