Zurich, largest city of Switzerland and capital of the canton of Zürich. Located in an Alpine setting at the northwestern end of Lake Zürich, this financial, cultural, and industrial centre stretches out between two forested chains of hills, about 40 miles (60 km) from the northern foothills of the Alps. The first inhabitants of the region were the prehistoric peoples whose hut dwellings rose from pile foundations driven into the shores of the lake. The Celtic Helvetii founded a community on the right bank of the Limmat River; when the Romans conquered this area about 58 BCE, they made the settlement, which they called Turicum, a customs post. Under Roman rule, Zürich grew into a small army stronghold with an adjacent vicus, or Roman village. After the collapse of Rome, the community fell first to the Alemanni, a Germanic people from the north, and later to the Franks, who made it a royal residence. The cosmopolitan city by the water combines creative urban life with nature in all its glory. Zurich is abuzz with activity day and night with its countless events, diverse museums, own food festival and Switzerland’s most vibrant nightlife. And if you’re after rest and relaxation, you can be in the Swiss mountains in less than an hour.