Explore Geneva: four insider secrets!
Geneva is so much more than bank vaults and holey cheese! At Warwick Geneva we love the rich history and heritage that surrounds us. Come along with us as we explore a few of the city’s lesser known secrets.
A 140m high water fountain
The Jet d’Eau has had quite a journey from it’s more humble beginnings in 1886 as a hydraulic power network safety valve. In 1891, Genevans recognized the beauty of the then 30 metre high plume of water and to celebrate the Federal Gymnastics Festival, moved the Jet d’Eau to its present location in Lake Geneva, close to where the Rhône river exits the lake. Today the fountain is elevated to iconic status as a symbol of Geneva, and is visible from most parts of the city. The current height of the Jet d’Eau is 140m- that’s higher than Big Ben, the Statue of LIberty and The Great Pyramid of Giza! Two pumps by Swiss fluid engineering specialists Sulzer are able to project 500 litres of water per second at a speed of 200km per hour through a special nozzle, which fills the jet with millions of tiny air bubbles giving the fountain it’s white colour. During your visit to Geneva, why not take a stroll along the lakeside and wonder at this marvel of technology?
The longest wooden bench in the world
After a day of sightseeing and exploring the galleries, museums, petite streets and quaint squares of the historic Old Town, or Vieille Ville, you might be ready for a rest. Head to the Promenade de la Treille, a small green park near the Hotel de Ville and just above Bastions Park. Here you will find the Banc de la Treille, the longest wooden bench in the world! At 120.21 meters long, the bench is made up of 212 precisely placed seat boards and 79 backrest boards so you’ll be sure to find a shady spot to put your feet up and enjoy the atmosphere. Nearby, you can see a botanical city landmark- the Official Chestnut Tree of Geneva, or ‘Marronnier de la Treille’. For over 200 years, a city official has been tasked with recording the first leaf that appears on the tree, heralding the arrival of spring.
The secret history of watchmaking
Quality timepieces are synonymous with Switzerland, but you may be surprised to find out how watchmaking began in Geneva. Travelling back in time to 1541, John Calvin, the Protestant Reformation leader had banned the wearing of jewelry to promote the austere puritanical ideals of the movement. The jewelry artisans of Geneva had suddenly lost all their clientele, but Huguenot refugees from France who had flooded into the city came up with a creative solution. Many of these emigres were expert watchmakers and shared this knowledge with local craftsmen. As watches serve a practical purpose, their manufacture was permitted. By 1601, the Watchmakers Guild of Geneva had been formed and Genevan watches were renowned as quality pieces. The industry began to spread to the rural Jura region, with farmers using the quiet winter months to begin making watch parts and movements. This is still the way for many watchmaking companies in the ‘Watch Valley’ that extends from Geneva to Basel. For even more fascinating insights into the Swiss watchmaking heritage, why not visit one of the many watch museums in the city during your stay? Ask the team at Warwick Geneva for some recommendations.
The United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) is located in the beautiful Art Deco Palais des Nations, which was the second largest building in Europe after Versailles when it was completed in 1936. Situated in the lovely 46-hectare Ariana Park, with Lake Geneva and the Mont Blanc views, UNOG is worth a visit for more than just the photo-worthy facade and impressive avenue of international flags. A tour of the building will give a behind the scene peek at the inner workings of the UN, and could include visiting The Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room, The Salle des Pas Perdus, The Assembly Hall and The Council Chamber. Learn more about the history of the United Nations and its predecessor the League of Nations as well as current activities of the organization. During your visit keep a lookout for some special residents of the complex- the magnificent peacocks that roam the grounds freely.
Warwick Geneva is happy to offer guests fully flexible rates, with free cancellation for a limited time, so start planning your city break now! With an excellent location just metres from the lake, and within easy walking distance of the Old Town, the hotel is a perfect base for unlocking some of Geneva’s secrets.
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