Winterthur City Guide
Gothic church (built 1264-1515)
Old timber framed house
- The Roman castellum Vitodurum is first mentioned in
294 A.D., but abandoned during the migration of nations in the
- The counts of Kyburg reside near Winterthur and control
most of eastern Switzerland during the Middle Ages. They establish
several towns during the 12th century, among them Winterthur and
- When the last count of Kyburg dies without children, the counts
of Habsburg become masters of Winterhur in 1264. On St. Alban's day
(June, 22th) the rights of the city are confirmed.
- In 1415 the members of the old Swiss confederacy conquer the
native territories of Habsburg (today canton Aargau). Winterthur
becomes a free city for some time, but returns under the rule
of Habsburg in 1442.
- In 1460 the Swiss confederacy conquers the territories of Habsburg
east of Winterthur (today canton Thurgau). The counts of Habsburg
are forced to hand over the city of Winterthur to the city of Zurich
- Winterthur remains under Zurich's control until 1798
- During the 19th century, Winterthur becomes a center of mechanical
industry: Rieter (textile machines), SLM (Swiss locomotive works)
and Sulzer (diesel engines for ships). Though the transformation
from industrial production to post-industrial services has affected
textile and mechanical industries particularly heavily, one may
still see classical 19th century industrial buildings made from
red brick stones right at Winterthur's main railway station.
- Politically, Winterthur is a strong base of the democratic movement
challeging the dominance of a small group of entrepreneurs and bankers
in the second half of the 19th century. Thanks to this movement,
Switzerland has developed it's unique
political system of direct democracy featuring frequent
- See also: general
History of Switzerland
- The Albani-Fest has a century old tradition and reminds
of the confirmation of the liberties of the city by the counts
of Habsburg on St. Alban's day June, 22th 1264. While the citizens
got a free meal (bread, cheese and wine) until 1866, they have
to pay for the festivities nowadays, but the offer has been extended
and reflects the multicultural urban society: There are all kinds
of music performances (Jazz, Rock, Pop, Folklore), cuisine specialities
from dozens of countries, merry-go-rounds and roller-coasters.
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