Geneva Travel Guide
Geneva, Genève in French, is an international city with stature, both as a world financial center and as the world's "Peace Capital." It was here, back in 1949, that the Geneva Conventions were signed by virtually the entire civilized world, establishing once and for all a code of conduct for the humane treatment of prisoners of war and non-combatants in wartime. Many of the United Nations' agencies are headquartered here, as well as the Red Cross. Fully, there are more than 250 international organizations headquartered here, including the ILO (International Labour Organization) and the WTO (World Trade Organization). The city itself is small, stately, refined, and among the most expensive in the world. And since it sits on the Swiss border with France, it should come as no surprise that it is French speaking and imbued with French culture, particularly in the realms of cuisine, sense of fashion and etiquette.
Geneva is situated on Lake Geneva (Lac Léman in French), where the lake empties into the Rhone, in the southwestern corner of Switzerland, practically on the border with France. It lies to the southwest of the Swiss cities of Lausanne, Berne and Zürich, 31 miles (50 km), 79 miles (127 km) and 136 miles (219 km) respectively, and roughly 71 miles (114 km) northeast of Lyon, France.
For visitors to Geneva, the city's principal draws are the Palace of Nations, originally built in 1936 to house the League of Nations, forerunner of the United Nations; the 12th-century St Pierre Cathedral, best known for its associations to church reformer John Calvin; the landmark Jet d'Eau, one of the largest fountains in the world; the CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) landmark exhibit center, Globe of Science and Innovation; and the entire old town of Geneva, which is now part of the "Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites." The city is also rich in museums and galleries, most notable among them the Museum of the International Red Cross, at the entrance to which stands a hugely moving statue of The Petrified. Besides which, there's a university of note here as well, founded in 1559 by John Calvin.
Geneva's most famous son is 18th-century writer and thinker Jean-Jacques Rousseau, author of The Social Contract.
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