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Basel

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Few cities in Europe can match Basel for its concentration of cultural attractions. Tourists to Switzerland’s third-largest city will find more than one museum per square kilometer with a total exceeding 40. Moreover, many of these are housed in buildings that are themselves works of art, designed by great architects that include Renzo Piano, Frank O. Gehry, and Mario Botta. The two sides of Basel are joined by six bridges over the Rhine, as it makes a sharp turn before flowing north to become the German-French border. It’s the higher left bank where you’ll find the old town and cultural attractions. After being ruled by Burgundy and the German and Austrian Empires, Basel joined the Swiss Confederation in 1501. Basel’s university became a center for humanism in the 16th century and continued to be a magnet for distinguished scholars and teachers, which may account for its remarkable cultural heritage today.