City guide Aarau
Aarau is located by the southern foot of the Jura foothills in the centre of the big city triangle of Zurich, Basel and Lucerne. The central location was recognised early on which is why Aarau for a brief few months in 1798 was Switzerland's first capital and home to Switzerland's first Houses of Parliament.
The many painted eaves, the so-called "Dachhimmel" which predominantly date from the 16th century when the town underwent considerable extension, are a special feature of the old town of Aarau. It's for this reason that Aarau is regarded as the town of beautiful gables.
And Aarau continues to display an appreciation of art: the Aargau Art Museum featuring an extension designed by the famous architects Herzog & de Meuron offers architecture and art exhibitions setting high standards. The «Naturama», Aargau nature museum, is not your run-of-the-mill museum: animals, plants, exciting video films highlight the interaction and areas of conflict between nature and man in Aargau.
The Roggenhausen Wildlife Park has wild animals in their natural habitat as well as a Nature Trail. Cycling and walking trails alongside the River Aare and the Jura slopes provide the perfect opportunity for some pleasant physical exercise. But to see the people of Aargau really enjoying themselves you need to come to one of the local and historic traditional events, such as the «Maienzug» in July, the «Bachfischet» or «Rüeblimärt».
The Canton of Aargau boasts a great many castles, including some of Switzerland's most impressive such as the Lenzburg, the Hallwyl Water Castle and the Habsburg Castle - main residence of the famous dynasty from the the 10th century onwards. And Brugg, Baden and Zurich are a very short journey away. The Vindonissa Museum offers an opportunity to discover traces of the Romans and Windish is home to the biggest and best-preserved amphitheatre in Switzerland. And there are also a lot of historic towns, such as Bremgarten, Zofingen and others, to visit in the Canton of Aargau.
The fine painted decoration beneath the overhanging roofs of houses in the City of Beautiful Gables are unique. This lively community is renowned for its many events – and for its art gallery.
- Painted eaves («Dachhimmel») - the most beautiful eaves in Switzerland.
- Aargau Art Museum - extension designed by internationally renowned architects Herzog & de Meuron.
- «Naturama» nature museum - entertaining and informative insights into themes relating to nature in the Aargau.
- Aquarena Bad Schinznach - thermal bathing in three pools covering an area of 600 square metres at a temperature of 35°C - the benefits of the spa were first enjoyed by bathers in 1658.
- Bally Shoe Museum in Schönenwerd - unique exhibition about the history of footwear.
- Hallwyl Castle - most beautiful water castle of the Canton of Aargau, built on two islands.
- Lenzburg Castle - it is well worth making your way up to the Lenzburg because it houses the History Museum of the Canton of Aargau as well as affording a fabulous all-round view.
- Thai temple in Gretzenbach - only temple of its kind in Switzerland.
- Theatertage Aarau - amateur theatre festival representing all ages, from young people to senior citizens (June).
- Maienzug - 400-year-old tradition bearing testimony to the custom of pupils and teachers going into the forest to cut rods. This activity was called «Meyen» (first Friday in July).
- Aarau open-air cinema - one of the most beautiful horse race courses turnes into a cinema (August).
- Bachfischet - public festival celebrating the return of the water after the bed has been cleaned (September).
- Rüeblimärt - popular event focussing on the carrot in all its shapes and guises in the so-called «carrot» canton (November).