As early as 1891, a decision was made to increase the height of the “Jet d'Eau” - originally constructed as a relief valve for the pipes supplying pressurised water to the jewellers' machinery – and illuminate it. Now a landmark of the city, it shoots 500 litres of lake water into the air every second at a speed of almost 200km/h. The airborne water in the permanent jet weighs more than five tons.
The Jet d'Eau is best viewed from the Bains des Pâquis, a popular swimming venue for the locals. In winter, they all meet here for a sauna before the obligatory fondue.
The Palais des Nations, the Völkerbund (League of Nations) Palace, is located in the midst of the Ariana Park, on the banks of Lake Geneva. The palace, which was built in the 1930s, was the main headquarters of the League of Nations (Völkerbund) until 1946.
The building has housed the European headquarters of the UN since 1966 and is thus international territory. The palace, which has been extended to a length of 600 meters through several upgrades, contains 34 conference rooms and about 2,800 offices.
Over 8,000 meetings of nations take place here every year - of these meetings about 600 are larger conventions. Individual sections are open to the public - such as the Consultation Hall, which is decorated with magnificent frescos or the large Assembly Hall, which is even larger than the Paris Opera House.
Guided Tour of UN Palais des Nations
Guided tours (1 hour) are available upon request in 12 languages. The tour includes: the Hall of Human Rights, the "Concourse", the Assembly Hall, the Council Chamber, a film presenting the activities and objectives of the United Nations Office at Geneva and the donations made to the institution of the UN from the various countries.
Number of participants: 20-140
In 1859 the Russian orthodox community in Geneva was granted permission to build this church, with financial assistance from Anna Feodorovna Constancia, sister-in-law of Tsar Alexander 1st. Dostoyevsky baptised his daughter Sophie here; she died at three months of age and is buried in the cemetery at Plainpalais. Situated above the Quartier des Eaux-Vives, the Russian church is built on the site of a former Benedictine priory. Its architecture is a masterpiece of Byzantine-Muscovite style and its golden cupolas, restored in 1966, are a magnificent landmark that can be seen from many miles distant.
This is a solid and extremely large stone edifice in the style of a "Fine Arts" building anchored in the middle of the Rhône, before the Pont de la Coulouvrenière. It is an old hydroelectric station dating back to 1886, which was closed down at the end of 1980. This jewel of industry in Geneva supplied thousands of homes with drinking water and electricity for almost a century, before evolving into a cultural and artistic space.
This bronze statue of the famous Enlightenment philosopher and writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau was created by sculptor James Pradier of Geneva. It was erected in 1835 on Rousseau Island, especially named after him for the occasion. The towering sculpture facing the lake represents the philosopher busy writing while dressed in an antique robe. In 2012, Geneva celebrates the tercentenary of the birth of the writer.
Located in the centre of the Old Town, the Town Hall is the political heart of the city and the seat of government for the Canton of Geneva. This building houses the famous Alabama Room in which the first Geneva Convention was adopted in 1864, from which was to emerge the International Red Cross. The large paved ramp surrounding the building its most unique feature. Built between 1555 and 1578 by Peter Desfosses, the design of the ramp enabled direct access to the upper floors on horseback or on foot.
Built in 1886, the BFM is located close to the Pont de l'Ile. It was originally designed to supply the fountains, homes and factories of the city with water from the Rhone.
Its architecture is inspired by both the classical and the industrial with the building facades of concrete and stone seeming to “swim” on the river.
This is one of the most beautiful historical buildings in Geneva, especially in the evenings when it is illuminated.
After being doomed to abandonment, the BFM was listed as a historical monument in 1988. It now serves as a parallel events venue for the programming of the Grand Théâtre.
Following an international architecture competition, Rino Brodbeck and Jacques Roulet were commissioned to build the new WMO building in 1995. The building was designed to reflect the concerns of the WMO relating to the impact human activity has on the environment. Both sides of the building enjoy maximum natural lighting.
Its designers attached great importance to the rational and efficient use of the available energy and light, yet without harming the environment. One of the most remarkable features of this building is its double façade, which acts as both a protective and insulating envelope and a ventilation system.
Geneva originally built the Palais des Nations for the League of Nations founded in 1919. After the second World War and the dissolution of the League, the building was ready to welcome the European seat of the newly constituted United Nations (UNO). It is the second largest UN centre, the first being the headquarters in New York, and as large as the Versailles Palace.
Amongst the many works of art, the most amazing is probably the ceiling of the ‘Human Rights and Alliance for Civilisation Room’ painted by the artist Miquel Barcelò and donated by the Spanish government.
The Grand Théâtre de Genève is both a venue and an institution. The largest production theatre in French-speaking Switzerland, it hosts an annual season of operas, ballets and recitals with an international flavour. It seats 1500.