• BASEL, SWITZERLAND

    Date Established as Sister City: July 31, 2011

    City Site: http://www.basel.com/en/welcome.cfm

    baselSwitzerland

    Basel is the second largest city in Switzerland. Famed as the center of the humanist movement, Basel hosts the oldest university in Switzerland (1460), some 30 museums, the country's oldest musical theater, a town theater of international renown (Theater Basel), and countless other small theaters and performance spaces. The city is known for its high culture: classical music, theater and fine arts. But popular culture finds its space too.

    There is an 11th-century cathedral (rebuilt after an earthquake in 1356), in which Erasmus is buried, a 16th-century town hall, medieval gates, and a university dating from the 15th-century. The public art gallery contains paintings by German painter Hans Holbein the Younger, who lived in Basel 1515-26. Divided by the Rhine, the city consists of Greater Basel (south bank), which is the commercial and intellectual centre, and Lesser Basel, where industry is concentrated.

    Basel is famous for its carnival (held in February, one week after Ash Wednesday), a three-day event that opens with the Morgenstreich, a procession starting at 4 a.m. The procession features about 200 illuminated canvas lanterns decorated with paintings and rhymes that portray a particular subject or local event of the past year. The participants parade through the dark streets, accompanied by drummers and piccolo players.

    Every summer famous international rock and pop artists perform in the Sankt Jakobs Stadion, which, with a capacity of 30,000, is the largest soccer stadium in Switzerland.

    The multicultural Kleinbasel on the right shore of the Rhine is the home of the alternative cultural scene. Because of its many foreigners, more than 40 percent of the population, the many venues in this part of the city feature Turkish, Kurdish, former Yugoslavian, Greek, Albanian, Tamil and African music.

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