GENEVA | Best places in Geneva
Geneva is a city in Switzerland that lies at the southern tip of expansive Lac Léman (Lake Geneva). Surrounded by the Alps and Jura mountains, the city has views of dramatic Mont Blanc. Headquarters of Europe’s United Nations and the Red Cross, it’s a global hub for diplomacy and banking. French influence is widespread, from the language to gastronomy and bohemian districts like Carouge.
Geneva, French Genève, German Genf, Italian Ginevra, city, capital of Genève canton, in the far southwestern corner of Switzerland that juts into France. One of Europe’s most cosmopolitan cities, Geneva has served as a model for republican government and owes its preeminence to the triumph of human, rather than geographic, factors. It developed its unique character from the 16th century, when, as the centre of the Calvinist Reformation, it became the “Protestant Rome.”
The canton of Genève has a total area of 109 square miles (282 square kilometres), of which seven square miles constitute the city proper. Territorial isolation has been a basic feature of this region, which did not establish its definitive frontiers until 1815. Cut off politically and culturally after the Reformation from its natural geographic surroundings in Roman Catholic France and Savoy, Geneva was forced to establish an attenuated but powerful network of intellectual and economic relationships with the rest of Europe and with nations overseas.
A city-state transformed after many vicissitudes into a democratic Swiss canton, Genève has functioned primarily as a centre of commerce, in contact with both Germanic and Mediterranean countries. The contemporary city of Geneva is, above all, a service metropolis, retaining its financial importance and housing the headquarters of many public and private international organizations.