Geneva

A remnant from the last ice age can be found in Geneva - two big formations which emerge from the lake. The altitude of the greater one is 373.6 meters, equal to that of Geneva. Geneva has two major rivers - the Rhone and the Arve. Bodies of water facilitate transport routes. Public transport by boat is available, connecting the two banks of Lake Geneva. This is a great convenience for tourists and an attraction in itself. Other than that there are buses, trolleybuses and streetcars. The routes cover the city and a better part of the Canton. Some lines even reach France. The Geneva Cointrin Airport is linked to Swiss and French railroads. Itineraries to Paris and Swiss motorways are an element of the infrastructure.

The population of Geneva was 185 526 toward 2004. The Canton itself was home to 438 500 individuals. Of these, 33.1% were born in Geneva and 28.2% were born in other cantons in Switzerland. The remaining 38.7% are foreigners from 180 different countries. The majority of Geneva residents hold foreign passports. 

Geneva has a rich history. Many diverse people have inhabited it over time. The earliest evidence of civilization in Geneva goes back to approximately 3000 BC. When Rome conquered Geneva, it was populated by Celts. The name 'Geneva' is actually derived from a Celtic settlement. The name Genava (Latin) was first recorded in the writings of Julius Caesar related to the Gaelic Wars.  It became a district around 400 AD.  In 443 the Burgundians established themselves there, only to be overpowered by the Francs in 534. Geneva came under the Second Burgundian Kingdom in the 11th Century. From a practical viewpoint its bishops were in power from then on, until the Reformation.

Geneva became an important centre only at the close of medieval times. In the early 1500s its sovereignty was threatened, but the city was transformed into a republic after the Reformation in 1535. It was the home of Calvinism in the very next year, achieving the title of 'Protestant Rome'. It was a haven for victimized Protestants after 1550 and gradually developed into an intellectual and cultural stronghold. The 18th century in Geneva was marked by great industrial prosperity, mainly in the spheres of business and banking. The city is the birthplace of great Enlightenment philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau and was home to Voltaire himself between 1775 and 1778.

In 1798 France appropriated Geneva and converted it to an administrative centre. It reacquired freedom in 1813, after the downfall of Napoleon. It then applied for integration in the Swiss Confederation, which was approved in 1815. The effective constitution of Geneva was, interestingly enough, drafted back in 1846 after a revolt against the government.

Geneva is the founding place of the International Red Cross Committee and the location of the League of Nations head office after World War I. This organization was the predecessor of the UN.

Geneva is the site of a large number of multinational organizations - the UN and some of its organizations, among which the World Health Organization, the International Labour Organization, the World Intellectual Property Organization, the International Telecommunication Union and the World Trade Organization. Additionally, giants like Procter & Gamble have established their European headquarters in this international business center.

Attractions in Geneva include the Flower Clock and the Art and History Museum. You cannot miss the Waterjet (Jet d'Eau) in Lake Geneva - it can be seen from any part of the city, because its water column rises a full 140 meters.