Seemingly we couldn’t get enough of our quick tour around Neuchatel that a few days after, we decided to visit another Swiss town. Its canton is known as the pre-Alpine region of Switzerland where the best chocolates and cheeses come from. Yet most of all, Fribourg is a small town of incomparable charm – thanks to its well-preserved medieval architectures, its meandering Saane/Sarine river, and its bilingualism where you can find French and German language coexist.
Luckily we found ourselves walking towards the town proper with a vast view of the medieval town. From afar we could already see the bell tower of Fribourg Cathedral standing dominantly atop of the hill. At our side, we could get a glimpse of the medieval town, as well as a few old monasteries and its open-air, public swimming pool (it’s wintertime at Bains de la Motta, hence its green color).
We also came across a funicular and started discussing how we’d tour around the town and end up taking this ride to go back to where we parked. At the end of our tour, however, we found that the funicular was under repair, so we ended up taking a long flight of stairs. Switzerland is one hilly – no, mountainous – country to begin with; I’ve somewhat learned to get used to marching up and down.
The single buttressed bell tower of Fribourg is just standing proudly and tall in front of us. The tower is 73 meters high and houses 11 bells. The Cathedral of Saint Nicholas is Gothic in style and it features the stained glass window designed by renowned Polish artist, Jozef Mehoffer.
Fribourg’s medieval center is one of the largest and finest remains in Europe. Particularly the fortifications of Fribourg are the most important medieval military architecture of Switzerland. It consists of a 2-kilometer rampart, 14 towers, and a grand boulevard. As always, my eyes feasted on centuries-old establishments, ornate street signs, historical fountains and Catholic statues in street corners while walking along steep, cobbled streets.
Along Fribourg streets, we’d come across small statues of saints and of Mary and young Jesus. Fribourg is predominantly a Catholic canton, with around 70% of its residents are Catholics.
On the right bank of the Sarine is where we found the Fontaine de la Fidélité (photo below) created by Hans Gieng in 1553.
At our left, we saw from afar the modern Poya bridge that connects Murtenstrasse with Bernstrasse as part of the H182 main road. At our right, we found La Tour des Chats (Cats Tower) which is one of the medieval towers adjacent to the medieval fortification of Fribourg.
Since the city of Fribourg is built along the banks of a river, it does explain many bridges crossing that body of water. One of the two modern bridges we crossed was the Zaehringan bridge.
This version of an arched double-deck bridge was built in 1924 that replaced an obsolete suspension-type bridge, which used to be the longest in the world until 1849.
Nonetheless, the Bern bridge was my most favorite. Standing as Fribourg’s last wooden bridge, it’s been constantly renovated to keep its Baroque style, though it was originally built at the late Gothic period.
Fribourg is such a medieval pretty. It’s truly worth a visit!