Schaffhausen is a municipality and the capital of the canton of the same name. Apart from three other towns, Stein am Rhine, Neunkirch, and Neuhausen a. Rhf., Schaffhausen lies on the northern bank of the river Rhine.
Located right next to the shore of the High Rhine in the very northern part of Switzerland, Schaffhausen is recognized as one of the most charming towns in Switzerland due to its numerous bay windows and painted facades. The 16th century Munot hilltop fortress, lots of painted and intricately decorated houses, 171 oriel windows, fine trading houses and houses of guilds referring to the epochs of Gothic and Baroque and long rich history that still echoes in the city’s narrow cobblestone streets and picture-perfect squares with medieval castles visible in the distance and magnificent monastery spires and towers rising right above, giving stunning views over the cityscape and spectacular Rhine Falls – this is a city you WILL fall in love with, at first sight, and forever.
Let’s plunge head-first into the mysterious, surprising, breathtaking and gingerbread-like realm of this northern Swiss city that being surrounded by Germany on three sides perfectly combines the national heritage with the neighboring influence!
Interesting things and facts about Schaffhausen
There are at least two theories on the origin of the city’s name
The city of Schaffhausen has several names differing a little bit in various languages. It’s Schaffhausen in German; Schafuuse in the main spoken language – the local variant of the Alemannic Swiss German dialect; Schaffhouse in French; Sciaffusa in Italian; Schaffusa in Romansh; and Shaffhouse in English. However, the town was first mentioned back in 1045 under the name of Villa Scafhusun. There are several theories explaining the origin of the town’s name.
According to the first theory is related to a “ford” which appeared across the Rhine in about 1050. The “ford” is likely connected to the word scapha, which is translated as a skiff and served to disembark goods arriving from Constance, and then distribute them around the Rhine Falls. Later the name Scafhusun emerged from the word scapha which was common at that time.
Yet another theory claims that the name Scafhusun is derived from Schaf (a sheep). In as early as 1049, a ram (now a sheep) was depicted on the town’s coat of arms and is thought to be originated from its founders, the counts of Nellenburg.
The city is really ancient and has struck its own coins from 1045
The settlement was formed in the 11th century as a staging post for goods transported along the Rhine River. In the same 11th century, the All Saints Monastery was founded in the city, which later became an imperial abbey (that is, an object of federal significance) and the city passed from 1080 to its subordination. Having independent sources of development, Schaffhausen did not want to remain in ecclesiastical vassalage, and in 1190 achieved the status of a free imperial city.
Schaffhausen was a German city initially
The subsequent medieval history of the city, forced to constantly maneuver between the more significant centers of power and influence, was quite difficult. Emperor Ludwig IV for some reason gave the city to the Habsburgs in 1330, and Schaffhausen lost his hard-won privileges for a hundred years. Imperial status was returned only after one of the Austrian suzerains had a great deal of politics and was deprived of the rights in a judicial order in 1415. In the free city, powerful craft guilds formed, which for a long time took control in their hands, not always, however, taking far-sighted decisions. Initially joining the Swabian League, the city in the middle of the 15th century entered a series of conflicts with its other participants, and as a result, began to gravitate toward its southern neighbors. As a result, in 1501 Schaffhausen joined the Swiss Confederation as a full-fledged 12th member. The movement of the Reformation quickly found adherents among the townspeople, and even the abbot himself supported the reforms, having dissolved his monastery in 1524. By the decision of the council, the citizens unanimously adopted Protestantism. Thus, initially, the German city turned into Swiss.
Schaffhausen is home to the first IWC
A luxury Swiss watch manufacturer International Watch Co., or as it is also well-known as IWC, was founded by an American watchmaker named Florentine Ariosto Jones way back in 1868.
Because the majority of the Swiss watch manufacturers are located in the west of Switzerland, IWC Schaffhausen is the only major Swiss factory that produces globally-renowned watches in eastern Switzerland.
IWC asserts that their service department can still maintain and repair watches of all previous years since the company’s establishment in 1868. Moreover, detailed records for each and every watch produced by the factory have been kept since 1885. The records include such details as the materials used to make a watch, the cases as well as the caliber. Lately, reference numbers authorized dealers’ names, and delivery date has also been included. The owner can request information about their watch for a small fee provided that the watch at least ten years old.
Schaffhausen has one of the oldest Karate Clubs in Switzerland
The Shotokan Karate Сlub was founded in 1969. There are more than 120 people training there. The training is provided for both kids and adults. The club has their own Dojo (training room) since 1994 and is a member of SKR (Swiss Karatedo Renmei), SKF (Swiss Karate Federation) and JKA (Japan Karate Association).
Schaffhausen became the scene of a horrific chainsaw massacre
The events that transpired in Schaffhausen are no less terrific than in the almost eponymous movie “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”. Although Schaffhausen is viewed as one of the safest towns in Switzerland, it had an appalling scene in its history. An attacker, wielding a CHAINSAW!, went on a blood-shedding rampage in this beautiful peaceful town injuring at least five citizens. The scared to death locals had to hide in shops as the historic town was placed on lockdown while the police hunted down the clearly mentally labile 51-year-old Franz Wrousis, who attacked the office of the CSS medical insurance company and wounded five people. Two of the victims were seriously injured and had to be hospitalized. One of the injured was wounded in the head. Swiss security officials clarified that the incident was not connected with the act of terrorism. According to the newspaper “20 Minuten“, this man allegedly suffered a brain injury in the past, and therefore suffered from a persecution complex.
Schaffhausen was accidentally bombed by the United States Air Force during the WWII
If you have read some of our previous articles about Zurich and the Swiss Armed Forces, you know that due to Switzerland’s geopolitical location, despite country’s neutrality and disallowance of any action within the Swiss airspace, it was severely bombed several times during the WWII.
A horrifying and the most serious incident of all times occurred on 1 April 1944, when the US Army Air Forces became responsible for about 40 deaths, injuries and, massive damage of the town’s property. It was reported that Schaffhausen was misidentified for the US Air Forces’ target Ludwigshafen am Rhein, which is located approximately 235 km to the north. After the Swiss government had pressed for an explanation, the investigations found that the cause of the incident was bad weather. Not only Schaffhausen suffered from this disaster, but two other cities in Germany and France were also bombed by mistake during the very same mission. Apparently, Schaffhausen was mistakenly assumed to be the German city as it lies on the right bank of the Rhine River. Four million dollars had been paid in reparation by October 1944.
Sadly, neighboring Stein am Rhein became the victim of another “mistake”, which happened on 22 February 1945, when thirteen USAAF air attacks took place with Stein am Rhein receiving the most damage. Other places included Taegerwilen, Rafz, and Vals. Overall these attacks led to 21 fatalities.
How to get to Schaffhausen?
The nearest airports to Schaffhausen, if you suddenly have decided to drop in for few days, while being in Germany, which, by the way, surrounds the canton from three sides, are in Frankfurt and Munich. Both airports are very well connected with Schaffhausen via the railway (the trains depart directly from the airport).
The nearest one located in Switzerland is Zurich Airport, 40-55 minutes away by train, depending on the direction.
Schaffhausen can be directly reached by train from Zurich, Winterthur, Kreuzlingen-St. Gallen (Seelinie), Singen-Stuttgart and Basel. Herblingen railway station provides local trains linking Schaffhausen station and Singen. Whereas Schaffhausen railway station, which shares two owners – the Swiss Federal Railways and Deutsche Bahn and provides trains of both nations, is served by long-distance passenger trains connecting Zurich and Frankfurt as well as Basel and Ulm. Although Zurich S-Bahn serves trains S16, S22 and S33 to the station, only the S16is a direct line to Zurich. The St. Gallen S-Bahn S3 train runs to St. Gallen, and S8 train connects with Rorschach.
If you travel by car or have rented one in the rental office, to reach the city from Zurich, take the A4/E41 direction to the north. Beware that all Swiss motorways require all users to purchase a vignette.
If you are more comfortable going by bus, there’s a very nice Post bus connection from Zurich as well as many other major cities, which will ensure you have a fast and pleasant trip to Schaffhausen. So, definitely pick the one that offers an excursion on the way, this way you’ll find out lots of interesting things while en route. In addition, there is a good bus network and the Schaffhausen trolleybus system in the town. The latter connects with neighboring places including Herblingen and Neuhausen am Rheinfall. It makes it really easy to travel all over the region.
How to get around?
The Old Town is completely pedestrianized. Schaffhausen Train Station is in the heart of the city. It also serves as a border station between Switzerland and Germany. Except for cash desks and a waiting room in the station building there is a pharmacy, a bakery, a small grocery store and a buffet. The railway station is adjacent to the main bus station of the city.
The city public transport connects the railway station with the various quarters as well as Neuhausen in the 10 min cycle, in the evening and at the weekend every 20 min. The surrounding area is accessed by various regional bus lines, which also depart from the station and run hourly to half-hourly.
In summer, you may pick a ship instead of a bus to go somewhere, since ships travel on the Rhine to Stein am Rhein and Kreuzlingen (by bus number 5 or 8 to the Schifflände stop). From the Rheinfall, you can go by motorboats to the islands Rheinau and Eglisau that are located on nearby-lying Lake Constance.
Where to stay and grab a bite?
Despite the small size, there is no problem with accommodation in Schaffhausen. Largely, the accommodation options are presented by the apartments. Hotels are more expensive, but there is a wide variety of choices at different prices. If that’s still too much, settle on a hostel. The service is great and it is much cheaper in comparison to a hotel.
Moreover, since the city is on the border with Germany, you can book accommodation in the nearest German towns, for example, Jesstetten or Lotstetten. The hotels there cost a little bit more, but they are a nice option, as Schaffhausen can be reached by train in just 5-10 minutes.
As to eating out, practically all cafes and restaurants of Schaffhausen specialize in the traditional Swiss cuisine, although there are a couple of Italian and French spots. In the Old Town, you may find many Doner/Kebab stands, good to grab a quick bite. However, they are more expensive, like Restaurant Fischerzunft, at Rheinquai 8, which is known all over the country for the delicious food and extremely high prices. You may buy everything you need at the food supermarkets too. Moreover, in local Coop or Migros networks, you can have a nice lunch for 10 CHF per person without alcohol.
There are a lot of bars and nightclubs spread around the Old Town. Some of them stay open till as late as 05:00 in the morning. Some of the bars are open every day, and the nightclubs typically work on Friday and Saturday night. For those who like wine, the local vineyards offer visitors to try the delicious locally-produced wine. If you have got thirsty while in the town, don’t bother buying water, you can drink directly from the picturesque fountains scattered throughout the city, just like in Zurich.
Shopping in Schaffhausen
All the Swiss world-renowned produce like chocolate, cheese, jewelry, knives, and watches can be found here. In fact, there are lots of boutiques of local brand watches, which are among the best in Switzerland. Besides this, be sure to buy the “Chatzezüngli“, (kitten tongues) that are a specialty of Schaffhausen. Sounds weird, but that’s chocolate. If you would like to try some of these locally-made delights, you can buy some directly at the confectionery at the Vordergasse or pay a visit their shop at the train station.
The Farmer’s Market is located in the center of the Old Town next to the Church of St. John. It runs on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7:30 to 11:30 and offers bread, fish, cheese, vegetables, fresh flowers and much more. Besides, Schaffhausen, like other German-speaking cities in Europe, holds a large Christmas fair.
What is the weather like in Schaffhausen?
Because Schaffhausen lies on the right bank of the river Rhine, the weather is quite pleasant but can be rather humid. The town receives on average 122 days of rain or snow annually. The wettest month is July during which there is precipitation for an average of 11.3 days. February is the driest month of the year with precipitation slightly above 8 days. The best time to visit Schaffhausen is May and June. It is at the end of spring and at the beginning of summer that both the Rhine Falls shows its greatest power and the weather is very comfortable. However, you can come in or September as well: there are not as many tourists, and the days are as warm as in summer.
What to see and do in Schaffhausen?
Discover the Old Town!
First of all, you should get acquainted with the city itself. Even, if you haven’t planned to go sightseeing or you feel like excursions around the town aren’t your thing, you won’t be able to resist its charm and architectural beauty.
The list of Swiss heritage sites of national significance includes overall 35 architectural structures and sites that are located in Schaffhausen. The entire old town is included in the list, as well as the city walls, the Schweizersbild Paleolithic cave, the town and cantonal archives, the Giesserei +GF+ Werk I factory, and the Herblingen and Grüthalde Neolithic settlements, the former Benedictine All Saints Abbey and the Church of St. John, and four former guild houses and seven houses, including two religious buildings. Furthermore, there are many buildings of Renaissance era with their exterior walls adorned with frescos and sculptures that are worthy of your attention. Also, you will not miss an imposing old fortress called the Munot, which stands out of the city skyline.
Try to cover all minor Schaffhausen’s attractions in one fell swoop!
The city is so generously packed with various attractions that it’s incredibly hard to pick the best direction you should start from. Still, let’s try and work out a route that’s going to cover all the best sights!
The central square of Fronwagplatz, which was the main market of the whole region during the Middle Ages, is, perhaps the best and most easily accessed places to start exploring the city. Just a little up, there is a massive dominating tower of Fronwagturm with an astronomical clock built in 1564. In medieval times there were market scales on which merchant goods imported into the city were weighed. Then go the tower and the late baroque facades of mansions Errenshtube and Zum-Shtaynbok also built in 16th-17th centuries.
A little further north, if you go past the two medieval fountains – Metsgerbrunnen (1524) with the statue of the Swiss mercenary and Morenbrunnen (1535) of the Moorish king, you will find the mansion Zum-Ohsen – one of the most ambitious and grandiose in the city. The late Gothic façade of this former hotel was reconstructed in 1608 and decorated with frescoes depicting classic Renaissance heroes. Further north is the equally impressive Zum-Grossen-Kafg mansion with frescoes depicting a triumphal parade of the great Mongol – Tamerlane. It’s actually very funny that no one seems to be able to explain, how he got here and how he is related to this city, although there are many legends concerning the topic.
From there you can go to the north gate of the Old Town, crowned tower Schwabentor (1370, reconstructed in 1933), on a beautiful paved road up to the hallmark of the city – the fortress Munot – or down in the very center of historic neighborhoods – to the Cathedral of Münster zu Allerheiligen, built in 1103 with beautifully restored Romanesque tower, nearby Roman-Gothic Benedictine monastery (the largest in Switzerland) with Junkernfriedhof – an aristocratic cemetery – and a huge Schiller bell in the courtyard.
That’s not even the full list of wonderful things you’ll encounter on the way. So, better be stocked up on time and energy, and a nice touristic map, because you’ll face the problem of being constantly lured away and off the track by yet another beautiful something.
Find the traces of ancient human sites in and around Schaffhausen!
Practically within the city borders, you may discover, how people of Paleolithic and Neolithic Eras used to live. The Paleolithic Cave of Schweiz Bild and the Neolithic settlements of Herblingen and Grüthalde, which are incredibly interesting and totally fascinating sights to visit, show and tell a lot about the life and dwelling of ancient people on this territory.
If by any chance, you have been lucky to end up in one of the ancient settlements all over Switzerland or Germany and France, you may compare how the style of life differed even in nearby-lying settlements.
If you have not, just go to Zurich, which is 35 kilometers away, and wander around the Alpine Pre-historic Pile Dwellings are – a series of prehistoric stilt house settlements built from around 5000 to 500 B.C. on the edge of the lake – that are one of 56 such sites located in Switzerland, compared to 5 in Austria, 18 in Germany, 19 in Italy, 11in France and 2 in Slovenia. The majority of the sites are listed in UNESCO.
Get fascinated with the Munot Fortress and witness its ancient rituals!
The circular Fortress Munot is the main landmark and the city’s symbol. The fortress, located in the center of the city, was erected in the 16th century with the aim of defending Schaffhausen from the enemy: on the Rhine side the fortress is protected by a steep slope, its tower is surrounded by a deep ditch. In 1799, it was a defense against Napoleon’s troops. After 1799, she served as a quarry. In the 19th century, the fortress was restored; its initiator was the drawing teacher Johann Jacob Beck.
Architecturally the fortress is something between the fortress and the modern fortification. The diameter of this round fortress is about 50 meters, the height of the walls is about 20 meters, and the thickness of the walls is about 4 meters. Munot is the only wholly preserved fortress in Switzerland.
On the tower of the fortress, there is a bell which is winded up manually every evening at 21.00 for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, the Guard of Munot, who resides in the tower, rings the bell continuing the old tradition according to which earlier ringing the bell meant that the gates of the city and all its hotels should be closed. Today the fortress of Munot is the cultural center of the city and hosts various events.
Set a foot in one of the least known touristic attractions of Schaffhausen – the mysterious Herblingen Castle!
The Castle of Herblingen is, indeed, one of the most mysterious castles of the Swiss German-speaking district Schaffhausen. Until now, the exact date of construction of the castle is unknown, since it changed a lot since the 13th century.
According to archaeological sources, this castle was built on the site of an old chapel. Until the 18th century, it was used as a fortress, after which the new owner converted the building into comfortable living quarters. Several times the fortress was laid for the debts of its owners, even now it is privately owned. Despite repeated reconstructions, the castle managed to preserve the medieval architecture. The courtyard and towers are also intact.
Surprisingly, the Castle of Herblingen is a place little known by tourists, more so, many do not even suspect about its existence. Nevertheless, this architectural reminder is one of the few that will be able to convey the spirit of the Middle Ages and force you to return to this place again and again.
Go to one of the most miraculous places in Switzerland – the Wert Castle!
The Wert Castle stands in one of the most fabulous places in Switzerland – not far from the ancient Rhine Falls, near the village of Neuhausen, on a small island surrounded by water. It dates back to the 12th century, and during almost all of its history, it was one of the most important points in the trade routes from Basel to Lake Constance, until the development of railways removed this responsibility.
At the moment, the castle can be visited with an excursion to admire the centuries-old stone walls, get acquainted with its history and enjoy the beauty of the surrounding nature and the ancient waterfall.
In addition, there is a fine restaurant in the castle, and a themed souvenir shop is at the service of tourists too. This place also boasts an observation deck and a quay located next to the castle, which is also open for inspection and walks.
Besides, under the walls of Wert, there is a boat dock where you can rent a boat and swim along the wonderful lake to the waterfall, which counts its birth from the Ice Age itself, being a unique creation of nature.
Enjoy a magnificent view of the famous Rhine waterfall from the observation platform of the Laufen Castle!
The ancient castle of Laufen in Schaffhausen rises on the picturesque bank of the Rhine, above the Rhine waterfall. The observation platform of the castle gives an opportunity to enjoy a truly spectacular of the waterfall.
The history of the castle begins in the 12th century. Previously, it was of defensive importance and protected the approaches to the waterfall and the bridge across the Rhine. The castle was erected by the Barons von Laufen and was their residence. Later, Baron von Laufen left the family castle. In the 16th century, the castle was bought by the authorities of Zurich and rebuilt. The castle is very well preserved until nowadays and you will be able to be deeply impressed by its magnitude and beauty. Besides, the castle houses a museum dedicated to the history of the Rhine Falls, which is very interesting and well worth a visit, as well as a souvenir shop and a restaurant, so you’ll get a chance to buy a few things to remind you of this place and get a delicious meal.
See some of the most important frescos of the Renaissance era at Haus zum Ritter!
The facade of the Haus zum Ritter “The House of the Knight” is one of the most important frescos of the Renaissance era to the north of the Alps. The house was built in 1492 and received the name of Ritter Hans von Waldkirch, who rebuilt the house in 1566. The frescoes of the house belong to 1568-1570. Tobias Stimmer was the creator of the original frescoes. They were removed from the facade in 1935 and now they can be seen in the Museum zu Allerheiligen. Carl Roesch of Diessenhofen reproduced the work of Stimmer, and the frescoes praise the virtues of the townspeople.
Learn the stories depicted on some of the characteristic richly painted houses!
Schaffhausen’s narrow cobblestone streets create an impression among tourists coming here that they have got into a medieval fairy tale. Aside from old medieval architecture and fountains mentioned above, this feeling is intensified by the old bright houses painted with various frescoes.
Do you remember the one with Tamerlane that was mentioned earlier? The house is called “At the Big Cell”. It appeared in the center of Schaffhausen in the 16th – 17th century. The frescoes depict scenes of capture by the great conqueror Tamerlane of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire Bayazet.
The house of the Golden Bull is considered one of the most beautiful houses in the city. There used to be a cattle market on the site where the house stands now. For some time this house served as a hostel. The frescoes of the facade depict a bull from Greek mythology.
Visit a very picturesque town of Stein am Rhein!
Located in the canton of Schaffhausen, near the mouth of the Rhine, also near the border with Germany, and largely influenced by it, it’s a tiny, but very picturesque Swiss town. The main charm of its historical center lies in the fact that the facades of many houses, located on the main street, are skillfully covered with paintings of different sizes and with different subjects. The medieval buildings are painted with beautiful frescoes too.
In addition, Stein am Rhein is adorned with the Hohenklingen fortress, which offers a wonderful view of the lake. The population of the city is only a few thousand people and the medieval part of the town has been pedestrianized.
Take a look at similar houses in Stein am Rhein!
In fact, houses with walls all covered in paintings and frescoes are the characteristic thing in the whole canton of Schaffhausen, not only its capital. As you have learned from above, you’ll see a lot of such around Schaffhausen, but why limit yourself to just those ones?
There are plenty of such in Schaffhausen’s close neighbor. One of these houses is the house called “At the Mountain Goat”, located on one of the side streets of the city. It is decorated with beautiful patterns and frescoes. One of them depicts a mountain goat, and the other is a lion with a shield and a sword and resembles a medieval coat of arms.
And, of course, do not pass by the house “At White Eagle” (Zum Weisser Adler) – one of the most impressive houses in Stein am Rhein and in Switzerland. The house “At the White Eagle” is on the right side of the Town Hall. The building is decorated with frescoes, which are considered to be the oldest in the city. The first mention of the house was recorded in 1418. The frescoes were created in 1520-1530, presumably by Thomas Schmid. The house is decorated with medieval illustrations of “Bocca della Verità” (from Italian – “The Mouth of Truth”), proof of loyalty, strength and unity, and scenes from the book of Italian writer Giovanni Boccaccio “Decameron”.
Contrary to the previous one, the house “At the Pelican” is famous for its tragic history, which tells a fresco on the facade of the building. The legend, known in many countries of Europe, tells of a pelican who in the years of drought fed the chicks that weakened from hunger with its own blood, piercing its breast with the beak, thereby saving them from imminent death. Therefore, the pelican is considered a symbol of nobility, self-sacrifice, parental love, and mercy.
Admire the largest monastery complex in Switzerland – the Benedictine Monastery of All Saints!
Briefly mentioned above, the Benedictine monastery of All Saints (Kloster Allerheiligen) in Schaffhausen is the oldest building in Schaffhausen and the largest monastery complex in Switzerland. Currently, parts of its buildings are the city museum of local lore and the Cathedral of St. John – the operating temple of the local parish.
Count Eberhard IV of Nellenburg established the monastery in 1049. The monastery church, together with its graceful bell tower, was consecrated in 1106. With the advent of the Schaffhausen Reformation, the monastery was dissolved, but the cathedral continued to function. In 1944, during a raid by the Allied aviation, the monastery buildings suffered badly. Their complete restoration was completed only in 1973.
Today, the buildings of the Benedictine monastery are considered to be the oldest in the city. Some of them belong to the 12th century and represent a sample of buildings of the Romanesque style, and others were built in the 13th century in the Gothic style. In the middle and later centuries, near the monastery walls was a cemetery, in which in 1582-1874 the city nobility was buried. Benedictine monks grew medicinal herbs – today this apothecary garden has been restored and is open for free visits. The church Münster Allerheiligen also houses the Museum zu Allerheiligen.
Enjoy very interesting exhibits at the Museum zu Allerheiligen!
Since Münster Allerheiligen was rebuilt in 1938, it has been a house to exquisite artistic and cultural exhibits, which had been collected over several decades, and now are on display. At first, the museum focused on archeology, history, and art, mainly concentrating on craft-oriented themes as chronologically structured tours. Later, natural history collections were added. Now, you may appreciate regular natural history exhibitions hosted by the museum.
The museum offers a variety of topics with its permanent collections and temporary exhibitions: Interdisciplinary special exhibitions encourage thoughts on the interrelation between culture and science, speculate on the universality of the medieval monastery, demonstrating the grandeur of the cathedral, the peaceful herb garden and the biggest cloister of Switzerland which can be accessed freely. Be sure that time will fly there and you’ll get lots of new knowledge and unforgettable impressions.
Admire the Münster Schaffhausen!
Münster is one of the two main churches of the Old Town of Schaffhausen. First built in 1064 AD as a Romanesque Basilica of the then Benecdictine Kloster Allerheiligen, it was rebuilt several times, and became in 1524 the Reformed Church of the city of Schaffhausen. For its incredible architecture and unique pipe-organ, the building is listed as a Class A object in the Swiss inventory of cultural property of national and regional significance as a Class A object of national importance.
Take a look at the famous Schiller Bell!
The Schiller Bell is an ancient bell, installed in 1486 on the belfry of the Monastery of All Saints. The bell received its “literary” name due to the well-known poem of the classic of German literature “The Song of the Bell”. Schiller selected the following words as an epigraph: “I call the living, I mourn the dead, I break the lightning.” Also, these words can also be read at the monastery bell in Schaffhausen. So Schiller saw this bell and, perhaps, it was thanks to this that a poem appeared, where the process of casting bells is surprisingly accurate and at the same time very poetic.
The famous bell served regularly until 1700 when the edge fell off. However, the locals did not change it, and it called for the monastery brotherhood and the townspeople for another 195 years. In 1898, it was after all removed and honored with “being retired”, sitting on a pedestal in the inner courtyard of the monastery, where you can find it nowadays.
Take a photo with William Tell!
The fountain Tellerbrunnen is set in honor of the Swiss national hero William Tell, who, according to legends, lived in the late 13th – early 14th centuries. The skillful archer is depicted with his crossbow. If you haven’t read about this Swiss folk hero and its influence on the Swiss character, check out the articles about Stans and Altdorf.
Visit the breath-taking Rhine Falls!
This is an absolute and irrevocable MUST for all visiting the area. The Rhine Falls is thought to have been formed during the last ice age, between fourteen and seventeen thousand years ago. It is now known as the biggest plain waterfall in the whole of Europe.
The falls are situated next to Schaffhausen, on the High Rhine between the village of Laufen-Uhwiesen/Dachsen and Neuhausen am Rheinfall.
The falls reach the height of 23 meters (75 ft) and are 150 meters (490 ft) wide. The falls are very powerful too. In winter months, the average water flow is slower than that in the summertime, about 250 m3/s, while in summer, the average water flow reaches the speed of 600 m3/s. As such, the most spectacular views are guaranteed in spring and summer.
The Rhine Falls can be reached without much effort by any means of transport: by car, bicycle and public transport. There is ample parking space.
On both sides of the Rhine, there are observation platforms that open up to a scenic view of the falls. You should take the stairs to reach the platforms. However, for some, they might seem quite steep and narrow. To take the stairs, you should pay an entrance fee on the Schloss Laufen side.
However, if you want to get closer to fully experience and feel the true power of this natural wonder, pick a boat trip. Mary Shelley, an author, once traveling around Europe with her son, visited the Rhine Falls in 1840. She later expressed hew awe for the magnificent views she had a chance to appreciate. You should heed her warning and take a nice big raincoat, if you don’t feel like soaking to the bone, as much as it would protect you. But if you end up wet, the experience is so worth it! Moreover, you can combine visiting the Rhine Falls with the viewing of the Wörth Castle in the community Neuhausen am Rheinfall that is nearby.
Make an unforgettable cruise!
Cruise on the Rhine from Schaffhausen to Stein am Rhein and through Lake Constance to Konstanz and then to Kreuzlingen is one of the most beautiful ship rides in Europe. So, if you have money and time, hop on and enjoy the scenic views of the splendid nature, the waterfalls and cozy little Swiss and German towns on the shores.
Visit the Benedictine Convent of St George and see its unusual exhibits!
This ancient monastery was founded in the 10th century by the wife of the Swabian Duke Bukhart. Educated spouses, who did not have children, decided to educate young men from noble families.
The center of upbringing, education, and science in those days were monasteries, and that’s why the monastery basilica was erected on the banks of the Rhine. bout two dozens of students were educated here. As a result of the Reformation in the XVI century, the monastery was abolished, and the castle in which it was located, was resold many times until finally, Ferdinand von Veter became its owner, who in 1926 created the museum here.
In the halls of the castle, there are a lot of sculptures, antique furniture, the walls are decorated with wood carvings. Tourists can see many interesting exhibits. For example, the geocentric model of the device of the world, used up to Copernicus; wooden medallions with mystic elements; bas-reliefs of seven earthly virtues on the ancient fireplace; and amazingly beautiful old frescoes on the altar. For more than 1000 years, this Roman basilica impressed the visitors with its harmony, and rest assured, you won’t be an exception.
Participate in various festivals and cultural events!
Schaffhausen brims with life and various events are organized all the time, from concerts to big-scale festivals. For example, the International Bach Festival is the performance of JS Bach’s works at the highest level throughout Schaffhausen, and it takes place in the last month of spring, every three years. Or go to Schaffhausen Jazz Festival – the best representation of Swiss jazz with modern trends and improvisations in the cultural center “Kammgarn” that goes on in May as well.
Besides, this area boasts of having a very unusual holiday – the Festival of Flowering Grapes, which is held in June in all 20 wine-growing regions of the region with tastings and visits to wine cellars.
In addition to this, Trottenfeste in the country Pinot noir is held in September, which is a variety of autumn festivals in the vineyards of Schaffhausen. Also, in September during the Night of Museums in Schaffhausen, many museums in the region are open until late at night. It is a great opportunity for those who haven’t got the time to drop by during the daytime.