Basel is a culture vulture’s utopia, simply bursting with excellent museums and stunning modern and historic architecture.
For the elite traveler searching for something different, take a stroll along the shimmering Rhine towards the iconic Mittlere Brücke, the very first bridge to traverse the Rhine, or alternatively scale Basler Pflaz – the terrace behind the Cathedral – for a fantastic view over the Old Town.
Jean Tinguely, who died in 1991, was a Swiss painter and sculptor famous for his kinetic art, which satirized the mindless production of material goods in advanced society.
Founded in his honor, the Museum Tinguley, was designed by architect Mario Botta and is located in Solitude Park next to the Rhine. This wonderful museum was inaugurated in 1996 and houses a permanent collection of Tinguely’s work. The exhibition includes his sculptures, illustrations, photographs and other documents relating to the artist’s life. The museum also plays host to an assortment of temporary displays: from June 8 to October 9 2011 visitors can see ‘Car Fetish’, an exhibition dedicated to the role of the automobile in 20th century culture. As well as acknowledging the impact that cars have on our daily lives, the exhibition shows how the automobile has been portrayed in modern art, with work from Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter, Robert Frank and many more.
The Cathedral is the city’s most recognizable landmark and a protected heritage site.
Its red sandstone architecture, colorful tiled roof and two slim towers are a much-loved landmark in this tranquil medieval town. The Cathedral sits in the Münsterplatz on Cathedral Hill, where the city was founded by the Celts in the first century BC. Originally a Catholic cathedral and today a Reformed Protestant church, The Cathedral was destroyed in the city’s 1356 earthquake. Johannes von Gmüd was commissioned to rebuild the cathedral, but it wasn’t until various extensions and re-designs that it took its current form in 1500. Today The Cathedral plays host to many of Basel’s biggest celebrations and events and is a monument to triumph over adversity.
Kunstmuseum Basel houses the largest and most significant public art collection in Switzerland.
The main focus for this museum is showcasing paintings and drawings from the Upper Rhine region from between 1400 and 1600, and from the 19th and 21st century. Kunstmuseum is home to the world’s largest collection of works by the Holbein family and major examples of Renaissance art, with pieces by masters such as Konrad Witz, Martin Schongauer, Lucas Cranach the Elder and Matthias Grünewald. The museum’s collection also includes masterpieces from Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, Paul Gaugin, Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh and Pablo Picasso. With an extension due for completion in 2015, Kunstmuseum looks certain to retain its position as Basel’s most important and prestigious museum of art.
Spread over 24 acres of magnificent parkland in the very heart of the city, Basel Zoo offers its visitors an incredible glimpse into the world’s wildlife.
Indeed, the zoo’s designers carefully planned the zoo’s habitat to give the animals the impression that they are still living in the wild. Basel Zoo is a very interactive experience, designed to stimulate visitors’ imaginations, and offers a realistic recreation of an African plain or an Amazonian jungle. The attractions change according to the season, making Basel Zoo a fantastic year-round experience – however the highlight in the winter when the temperature drops below 50 degrees fahrenheit is the wonderfully charming Penguin walk. The zoo also has exciting features for young people, including a Children’s Zoo complete with a petting area. With VIP Tours available on request, Basel Zoo is the number one choice for the elite traveler and family.
THE BEYELER FOUNDADATION
The Beyeler Foundation is an extensive art collection created over five decades by the late couple, Hildy and Ernst Beyeler.
Since 1997 the Beyeler’s extraordinary collection has been housed at designer Renzo Piano’s unique museum in Riehen, near Basel. The building’s elegant interior beautifully complements the featured artwork, creating a serene atmosphere in which to enjoy one of the greatest art collections in the world. Visitors can see some two hundred pieces of 20th century art including paintings from Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne and Vincent van Gogh to Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Francis Bacon. With a third of the museum set aside for temporary exhibitions, there is always something new to see at this inspiring, world-class gallery. This summer the Beyeler Foundation is proud to present the works of renowned sculptors Constantin Brancusi and Richard Serra.
Basel today stands proudly as the culture capital of Switzerland – however, it was once a very different place.
Two thousand years ago, a little further along the Rhine, a small tribal settlement laid the foundations of modern day Basel. Today, Augusta Raurica is the largest archaeological park in Switzerland and a must-see for the elite traveler. This historic site is home to more than 30 unique monuments, a restored 1,800-seat theater, a picturesque Roman house and the largest Late Antique silver display, plus a charming animal park complete with woolly pigs and Nera Verzasca goats. Augusta Raurica is much more than just a historical site, as it offers fun interactive experiences such as Roman bread baking and real archaeological excavations. A fabulous day out for the elite traveler who enjoys living history.