Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation,
it is a landlocked country located in central Europe and which has a
population of 8,500,000 inhabitants (2018). Switzerland is a
confederate republic of 26 states, called cantons. Bern is the seat
of the federal authorities, while the country's financial centers
are in the cities of Zurich, Basel, Geneva and Lugano. Switzerland
is the fourth richest country in the world, according to its GDP per
capita, with 83 718 US dollars (2011).
It borders to the north with Germany, to the west
with France, to the south with Italy and to the east with Austria
and Liechtenstein. It is characterized diplomatically by its neutral
foreign relations policy, without having actively participated in
any international conflict since 1815. Switzerland is the
headquarters of several international organizations, such as the
World Organization of the Scout Movement, the Red Cross, the World
Trade Organization, the Universal Postal Union, as well as one of
the two offices of the UN in Europe, as well as being the
headquarters of FIFA, the highest football organization in the
world, and of UEFA, the largest body of European football; it is
also the headquarters of the IOC, the highest body in charge of the
realization of the Olympic Games and of FIDE, the highest chess
organization in the world.
Picturesque mount Matterhorn is one of most beautiful and
better recognized mountains in Switzerland.
After the end of the Napoleonic Wars, starting in
1815, Switzerland respects political and military neutrality. This
allowed her to avoid the devastating consequences of two world wars
in the twentieth century. However, this was not always the case.
From the time of ancient Rome there were those who wanted to annex
these alpine valleys to their possessions. Particular interest in
them increased in the Middle Ages, when they found themselves at the
intersection of transport routes from northern Europe to Italy and
from western Europe to east. The year of foundation of Switzerland
is considered to be 1291, when the inhabitants of the three alpine
valleys entered into an agreement on mutual support in the event of
an attack. By 1513, the number of members of the union reached 13.
After a decade and a half, the Reformation began in Switzerland, and
the next three centuries, the confrontation between Catholics and
Protestants continued, which repeatedly resulted in bloody wars.
From 1798 until the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, Switzerland was
under French rule. In subsequent years, there was a struggle between
the patrician authority of individual cantons and supporters of the
transformation of Switzerland into an integral state on a democratic
basis, which ended in 1848 with the victory of the latter. A
constitution was adopted and a federal parliament was created, and
since then the period of quiet development of the Swiss
Confederation has come.
Holidays Switzerland celebrates St. Berthold's
Day on January 2. In Geneva, December 12 marks the feast of
Escalade. August 1 is Confederation Day (Swiss National Day). On
this day, mass festivities take place in all cantons, luxurious
fireworks are arranged. In Zurich in April, the Six-bellied is
celebrated - a kind of spring meeting. In the canton of
Appenzell-Ausserroden, the Old New Year is celebrated -