Zürich is in the north central part of Switzerland, bridging the Limmat River to the northwest of Lake Zürich. The largest city in the country, it is also its industrial and financial heart.
There is evidence of Bronze age settlement in the area. The Romans built a customs post on the bank of the Limmat in 58 BC which they named Turicum. After the fall of the Roman Empire the region was occupied by the Alamannii and the Franks, and its expansion slowed as a result. During the eleventh and twelfth centuries the city began to flourish, primarily because of a booming trade in textiles. In 1218 it became a free city under the Holy Roman Empire. In 1336 the burgomaster Rudolf Brun acknowledged the increasing importance of the trade guilds by granting them constitutional power and reducing the authority of the nobility. Brun also presided over the incorporation of Zürich into the Swiss Confederation.
Zürich was the first Swiss city to embrace the Protestant religion,...