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From the northern tip of the Zürichsee, the Limmat River starts its brief journey to the Aare and, ultimately, to the Rhine - and it neatly bisects Zürich at the starting gate. The city is crisscrossed by lovely, low bridges. On the left bank are the Altstadt, the grander, genteel pedestrian zone of the old medieval centre; the Zürich Hauptbahnhof, the main train station; and Bahnhofplatz, a major urban crossroads and the beginning of the world-famous luxury shopping street, Bahnhofstrasse. The right bank constitutes the livelier old section, divided into the Oberdorf (Upper Village) toward Bellevue, and the Niederdorf (Lower Village), from Marktgasse to Central and along Niederdorfstrasse, which buzzes on weekends. Most streets between Central and Bellevue are pedestrian-only zones, as is the Limmatquai from the Rudolf-Brun-Brücke to the Münsterbrücke.

Similar to the arrondissement system in Paris, Zürich is officially divided into a dozen numbered Kreises (districts), which spiral out clockwise from the centre of the city. Kreis 1, covering the historic core, includes the Altstadt, Oberdorf, and Niederdorf. Zürich West is part of Kreis 5. Most areas in the city are commonly known by their Kreis, and a Kreis number is generally the most helpful in giving directions.

Zürich Zoo »

This is one of Europe's outstanding zoos, with more than 1,500 animals, including Asian elephants, black rhinos, seals, and big cats. One of the more unusual attractions is a huge dome stocked with flora and small free-range fauna you might encounter in a jungle in Madagascar, including frogs, lemurs, and... more »

James Joyce's Grave »

The inimitable Irish author not only lived and wrote in Zürich, but died here as well. The city's most famous literary resident is buried in the Friedhof Fluntern (Fluntern Cemetery), not far from the Zürich Zoo. Atop his grave sits a contemplative statue of the writer, complete with cigar. A... more »

Kunsthalle »

Set in West Zürich, this is one of two major modern art venues on the top floors of a former brewery. While the premises are being renovated (at this writing, the project was expected to be completed at the end of 2012) the gallery is hosting its shows at the... more »