Wandering through District 5

Zurich is well endowed with historical buildings and and natural beauties.  Its old town spreads down both side of the River Limmat from stunning Lake Zurich with its views of the snow-capped Alps, up towards the Landesmuseum and the busy main station (Hauptbahnhof).

 

This week, I’m going to take you on a less obvious walk around the city.  We’ll start at the Hauptbahnhof and head north-west along the Limmat, away from the lake and into the former industrial area, know as District 5 (Kreis 5).

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Landesmuseum,  Zurich,  April 2017

Crossing the road from the station takes over to the Landesmuseum, the Swiss National Museum, build in 1898 and inspired by a number of different architectural features ranging from the late Middle Ages to the modern era.  There is a modern addition to the building behind this old building and from there you can wander across the pathways to the tip of a small triangular park, now perched at the junction of the Sihl and Limmat rivers.  This specific spot featured in James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake.

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Junction of Sihl and Limmat,  Zurich,  April 2017

From here we’ll take the small bridge across the Sihl and turn right, leading north-west with the Limmat to our right.

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Early morning shadows on the Limmat,  Zurich,  April 2017

This takes us into the former industrial zone, an area effectively surrounded by river and railway lines.  The area has been tidied and renovated.  Former factories now house art galleries; the viaduct arches offer trendy bars, shops and restaurants; a former shipbuilding factory, Schiffbau, is now a theatre and jazz club; and the park has lost its former name of “needle park”.

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Pedestrian bridge left;   Markthalle centre;   rail bridge right

We can grab coffee and cake, and some English cheese, in the Markthalle, and then wander down the right hand side of the viaduct, peeking into the small arty shops.   Down here is the small park, from where we can take steps up to the lower level bridge.

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Now we turn around and head back to the centre of town.  This pedestrian bridge takes alongside the railway for a while, then over the Limmat dropping us down on the opposite side of the water.  Then a short walk back into town, with the water to our right until we reach the junction with Sihl, where we can walk back through the popular park to the Landesmuseum

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The whole walk is around 5km and takes about an hour if you keep moving, but longer if you’re tempted to eat, shop, drink or take photos.

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Copyright Debbie Smyth, 8 May 2017

Posted as part of  Monday Walks

 

18 thoughts on “Wandering through District 5

  1. I lived in Zürich, Kreis 3, the first two years of my Swiss life from 1966-68. I afterwards moved to Solothurn, where I met and married Mr. Swiss, so I now also have Swiss citizenship. Actually I wanted to say I remember Needle Park. I had then already left Zürich, but the news was full of it. I think it was on the old train lines somewhere. Something almost unbelievable in Switzerland. So many years ago. In the two years that I lived in Zürich I got around everywhere in all directions, but the route Langstrasse to the main station remains very much in my memory. I did not know Kreis 5 very well. As you say it was then an industrial area. It was interesting reading your words, brought some memories back. I still visit Zürich now and again, not so often, it is on the main railway line from Solothurn, takes about an hour.

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    1. I stayed on Langstrasse in a new hotel (very nice). The walk from there to the station is changing a lot with an awful lot of building work and new shops and bars. I found it a great place to stay

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      1. How times change a place. When I was in Zürich there were no nice hotels in Langstrasse. Most of the rooms were rented to young ladies who worked at home – day and mostly night. However, during the day it was an interesting place, lots of flavour from Italy and some good food shops.

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