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Map of Switzerland

Population: 7.2 Million
Area in sq mile: 15.900
Capital: Bern
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Switzerland as holiday and travel destination

Switzerland occupies an area of 41,287 m≤ and its population totals 6,750,000 inhabitants. It is a federal state situated in Central Europe. Switzerland has four official languages: German, French, Italian and Romansch. Most of the population is bi-lingual. The German-speaking part also uses the so-called SchwyzerdŁtsch (Swiss German), a version of the German language, which is quite difficult to understand. Switzerland is a peace-loving country. It has not been involved in any war since 1814. Because of the neutrality of the country money depositors around the world have been attracted to open Swiss bank accounts, thus making Switzerland a leading financial center. The relief of the country is mainly determined by the Alps, a high-mountain range spreading from the Southwest to the Northeast. There are nearly a hundred of mountain peaks rising about 4,000 m high, all covered with glaciers and perennial snow. The Jura Mountain lies in the Northwest. Central Switzerland a hilly country situated between Jura and the Alps. This part of the country hosts many of the large cities and agricultural farmlands. Many rivers like the Rhine, the Rhone, the Aare, and Ticino cross out Switzerland. All Alpine rivers mouth into large lakes such as the Geneva Lake, Lake Constance, and Lago Maggiore. There are over 1,000 waterfalls and about 1,600 lakes in Switzerland. Europe's biggest waterfall is located close to Schaffhausen. Switzerland offers a large variety of climates. They range from almost polar climate in the high mountain regions where snow never melts during the year, to nearly sub-tropical climate in the valleys of the Southern Alps. Generally the country has transitional climate, changing from sea to moderate. The climate is considerably influenced by the relief. We can say each region in Switzerland has a climate of its own.

Switzerland has been a republic since 1848. It is a democratic federal state, which has been divided into 23 cantons and three semi-cantons since 1976. Each canton has its separate government and parliament, the so-called Kantonsrat, as well as its own Constitution and system of Courts. Direct elections are carried out every four years. It was only in 1991 when people over 18 years of age were granted voting rights in Switzerland; and at the federal level women were granted active and passive voting rights as late as in 1971. There are approximately 3,000 municipalities playing very important role in the Swiss democracy. There are many areas where decisions are made at the municipal level; the canton governments become involved only in case of disputes.

Switzerland has been famous for the manufacturing of watches and clocks since the 16-th Century, and now it continues this tradition by producing measuring and control devices. In addition, the country exports agricultural machinery, locomotives, airplane parts, printing presses, and diesel engines.

Switzerland is a country of highly developed animal husbandry. Dairy, milk, and chocolates are important export products of the country. The Gruyere and Emmental cheeses are world famous. Swiss agriculture mainly produces sugar beet, fodder and cereals, vegetables, apples and pears. French Switzerland boasts the largest wine-growing regions. Forests occupy 25% of the territory of the country. Timber is used both for the construction of buildings and as a source of energy.

Due to its geographical location, Switzerland is an important crossroad for the transportation of people and goods. The country is known for its many tunnels, which are greatly important for its transportation; one of them is the 16 ?m long Saint Gotthard Tunnel, which is the world's longest road tunnel. The Swiss railroad network is also very famous - the country offers Europe's most picturesque railroad routes.

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