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The History

The part of Bern that is now known as Federal Square dates from the turn of the twentieth century. This was when the “Oberer Graben”, a moat originally built between 1570 and 1630, which once formed part of the city's fortifications (dating from 1256), was extended and rebuilt at its eastern end. The square in front of the new Parliament Building (Bundeshaus) was originally known as “Parliament Square”. It was given its present name in 1909. Federal Square is bounded on the south side by the government and parliament buildings of the Swiss Confederation, by the imposing headquarters of the Swiss National Bank to the east, and to the west by the Bernese Cantonal Bank. The north side of Federal Square runs directly into the neighbouring Bärenplatz and Waisenhausplatz squares, which likewise once formed part of the system of moats that protected the city. The three squares in effect form the heart of the capital.

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