Building stones in Zurich – Trends throughout the centuries
Would you like an out-of-the-ordinary city tour? Join us for a tour of Zurich that focuses on architecture and building stones.
focusTerra and the Swiss Geotechnical Commission take you on a geological tour of some of the city’s historical monuments. Old and new buildings feature a colourful palette of different rocks. You will learn what building stones were fashionable in Zurich throughout the centuries and why the ETH main building is made of artificial stone that looks deceptively genuine even to a geologist’s trained eye.
On our walk over the city’s moraines (mounds of glacial debris) we can see the influence that the rock transported here by glaciers had on the construction of buildings in Zurich. For example, an erratic block from the last ice age became the foundation of a house in the Niederdorf, and the medieval town wall features a colourful spectrum of rocks from the Glarus Alps mixed with boulders from the Sihl river (see photo).
At the main station, we find the globalised world shining in black Gabbro (a remote relative of granite) from South Africa and white marble from Italy. The facades of the National Museum and the Liebfrauen church were built with a porous calcareous tufa from Toggenburg whose natural deposits have by now either disappeared or been placed under protection. Calcareous tufa was a highly fashionable rock at the time, like travertine today.
|Guided tour/ Duration||
Outside of opening hours
upon special request)
Tours in the exhibition (Permanent/special exhibition)
Duration: 1 h
|150 CHF||200 CHF||230 CHF|
Workshop "The colorful world of minerals"
Duration: 1.5 h
|200 CHF||250 CHF||280 CHF|
Workshop "Geology of the Alps"
Duration: 2 h
|250 CHF||300 CHF||330 CHF|
Geological city tour
Duration: 2 h
|300 CHF||350 CHF||350 CHF|
* Rates are per group, each with a maximum of 12 people. For geological city tours, rates are per group, each with a maximum of 20 people.
** If a guided tour begins during opening hours but ends outside of opening hours, the extra cost is calculated proportionally.
Please note the cancellation fees.
The proceeds are used to organize exciting activities for you in focusTerra and to support our students.
We take our time to prepare a workshop or guided tour to your satisfaction. Due to the numerous short-term cancellations in the last few months, we see ourselves obliged to invoice the costs incurred in case you cancel a workshop or guided tour on short notice. Therefore please note:
In the event of a cancellation 3 or more days in advance we will charge
- for School groups and groups up to 12 people 50 CHF;
- for groups with more then 12 people 100 CHF.
In the event of a cancellation less then 3 days in advance we will charge
- for School groups and groups up to 12 people 100 CHF;
- for groups with more then 12 people 150 CHF.
In the event of a cancellation less then 24 hours in advance we will charge
- for School groups and groups up to 12 people 150 CHF;
- for groups with more then 12 people 200 CHF.
Thank you for your cooperation!
Next public city tour
Meeting point entrance to focusTerra, attendence is free. Tour will be in German