Thun and its castle
ABOVE: View toward the lake from Schoss Thun
Thun (pronounced "Toon") isn't just another cow-infested Swiss village. It's a city of nearly 40,000 that has occupied an important role in cantonal affairs since the Gentlemen of Bern acquired it from the House of Kyburg in 1384.
The city is located at the northwestern corner of Lake Thun (Thunersee), where the River Aare flows out of the lake on its 24-mile journey toward the Swiss capital of Bern. It offers frequent train and boat service to nearby Interlaken, the hub of the Jungfrau region, yet it's only a 20-minute commute from Bern. Trains also head south over the Loetschberg Pass to Brig, which offers easy railway connections to Italy and the popular Glacier Express between Zermatt and St. Moritz. In short, Thun is both a transportation hub and a convenient base for city and mountain excursions.
But that's not all. Thun is a tourist destination in its own right, with a magnificent turreted castle (now a museum) that has dominated the Thin skyline since Duke Berthold V of Zähringen ordered it built in 1191. Paul Guiton, author of an undated travel guide titled Switzerland: Northern and Eastern from 60 or 70 years ago, had this description of Thun and its castle:
Although Thun is no longer the "little town" of Guiton's day, its urban center hasn't changed dramatically over the last half-century. The Rathausplatz still has a massive 16th Century city hall, and the businesses on the Hauptgasse continue to be arranged on two levels, with the sidewalks outside the upper-story shops serving as an arcade for the stores at ground level.
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