Switzerland is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, or states, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. Switzerland is situated in Western Europe, and is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Central Plateau and the Jura. The Swiss population of approximately 7.8 million people concentrates mostly on the Plateau, where the largest cities, Zürich and Geneva, are found. The Swiss Confederation has a long history of neutrality, for it has not been in a state of war internationally since 1815.
Tirggel are traditional thin, sweet biscuits made from flour and honey. The recipe for tirggel is believed to have come to northern Europe with the conquests of the Roman Empire. In what is today Switzerland, tirggel are said to have been used as pagan offertory cakes, cut in the shape of sacrificial animals.
Switzerland is a very athletically and health-minded nation. Exercise and physical fitness are important to most people. Children at the age of five or six start joining sport clubs or soccer teams. In the wintertime, skiing and snowboarding are very popular. In the summer, the Swiss love to hike or cycle. For teens, Friday and Saturday nights are a popular time for seeing a movie or sporting event or simply meeting up with friends.
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- The CHF1,000 bill is the highest denomination note in the world.
- Mount Pilauts has the steepest cogwheel railway in the world. From the top of the mountain, 73 mountain peaks and five different lakes can be seen.
- The "Toblerone Mountain" is actually called Matterhorn, and has an altitude of 4,478 meters.
- James Bond's mother is Swiss.