Friday, September 20, 2013

Helvetia


Helvetia sits upon the Rhine in the same fashion she has sat there for centuries. With a spear, a shield and her cloak on her side, Helvetia watches over her folk day and night. From Basel, Helvetia gazes her lands endlessly, her back facing neighbouring Germany.

Helvetia is a female representation of Switzerland and she is present in several cities, as well as being depicted in the tail of most national coins and printed in some series of stamps from time to time. This female allegory of Switzerland as a nation arose around the 17th century and Helvetia took her name from the first tribes that inhabited the current Swiss territory, the Helvetii, and Switzerland's official name remains Confoederation Helvetiva (Swiss Confederation). 

The history of Switzerland is quite different from that of many other countries in Europe and even nowadays, Switzerland is still a slightly rare country among her European neighbours. While many nations used a war as a tool to expand their territories and impose their law, it was peace what forged the foundations of Switzerland. In 1291 three small regions in the heart of Europe signed a treaty that would guarantee longlasting peace among them and protection from outsiders. This early confederation proved to be very popular and over the centuries many surrounding regions - which have come to be known as cantons over the years - joined them and shaped the current Swiss Confederation. Switzerland has gone down in European history as a peaceful and wealthy country, maintaining her neutrality status since 1815. Switzerland did not join the UN until 2002 and the thought of becoming a EU member gives Swiss people the creeps. Switzerland has a complex political system (which I don't think I'll fully understand) and a long and rich tradition of direct democracy which would clash violently with Brussels guidelines and supranational sovereignty. 

Europe is an ever-changing region but Switzerland has remained mostly the same since it was founded during the 13th century. Helvetia has long looked after her land and people and she will keep on doing so from this border point, her eyes looking as far as the horizon allows, proud and fierce, always ready to stand up for her folk.



The rain seems to have taken a break here in Basel and it'll hopefully stay away this weekend. Yesterday I went out to take some photos in the city and I totally forgot about the time and didn't go back home until I was hungry and cold but happy with +100 photos of Basel's old town and the Rhine. This weekend marks an end to summer 2013 and I'm kind of looking forward to chilly evenings and falling leaves.



Any special plans to farewell Summer 2013?
Have a lovely weekend!

8 comments:

  1. Por eso lo de helvéticos a los suizos?Qué bonita historia la de la fundación del país a partir de un tratado de paz. Me ha parecido super interesante este post, Irene. Bss:)

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    1. Sip, de ahí viene! Me alegro de que te gustase, a mí tb me parece interesante aprender siempre cosas nuevas de los sitios que visito :)

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  2. Gorgeous photos Irene. Helvetia and Switzerland are so rich in history. I love the fact that they stay neutral to the events of the world. I wish I could live in such a place. Sounds so peaceful & tranquil. Fall is in the air. Even here! It's suppose to rain the entire weekend, so inside & movies for me. I'm trying to enjoy summer treats before it turns cold.
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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    1. Nice plans! We're having a mild Indian summer now and the sun has been shining since last Friday :)
      It is indeed a very tranquil place and full of history at every turn! I can say that I really like it here!

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  3. Que hermosa historia y que hermosas fotos, es como si se haya ralentizado el tiempo ahí... me gustaría visitar sitios como esos tan románticos algún día... quizá cuando mi hipoteca se muera. Un besote.

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  4. I don't know much about Switzerland and its history, so it's really interesting to read about it here. I can't imagine how much Helvetia have seen and witnessed throughout many centuries. If only she could talk. :)

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    1. I didn't know that much about Switzerland before I came here for the first time - I didn't even know which city was the capital of the country - but there are so many interesting things to learn when traveling!

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  5. oh my, Switzerland is such a lovely country! It's really nice to visit it and spend sometime walking there, even the air must be different over there) Thank You for sharing such a nice post ad I've got to say you have nice photographic skills!
    Wish you a blessed day ahead!

    www.svetusvet.com

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