Basel is a city in northwest Switzerland, on the river Rhine, situated at the intersection of the Swiss, French and German borders. Due to this, it has suburbs both in France and in Germany. Its over 170,000 inhabitants make Basel the third most populous city in Switzerland, after Zurich and Geneva. The Basel agglomeration was in 2011 the third largest in Switzerland, with a population of 500,600 in 74 municipalities in Switzerland and an additional 53 in neighbourhood countries. Most of the population (as of 2000) speaks German,Italian being the second most common language and French the third one.
Basel is an important centre for the chemical and pharmaceutical industry. The city’s industrial production is focused on pharmaceuticals and specialty chemicals. Companies like: Novartis, Syngenta, Ciba Specialty Chemicals, Clariant, Hoffmann-La Roche, Basilea Pharmaceutica and Actelion are headquartered there. Banking is also of high importance to Basel.
Basel is one of the most important cultural centres of Switzerland, hosting many theatres and museums. The Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, a worldwide centre for research on and performance of music from the Medieval through the Baroque eras, belongs to Basel. Besides plays, Theatre Basel is home to the city’s opera and ballet companies.In 1999 it was chosen as the best stage for German-language performances and in 2009 & 2010 as “Opera of the Year” by German Opera Magazine “Operwelt. Basel also hosts the largest orchestra in Switzerland. The Museum of Fine Arts exhibits the world’s oldest art collection accessible to the public. Basel has the oldest university of the Swiss Confederation, the Basel, founded in 1460.
The city’s cultural life is marked every year by the carnival of the city of Basel (Basler Fasnacht), the biggest carnival in Switzerland, with dozens of fife and drum clubs parade in medieval guild tradition wearing fantastical masks and illuminated lanterns.
Basel is known in Switzerland as a successful sporting city.
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