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Aarau coat of arms
State : SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland
Canton : Kanton AargauKanton Aargau Aargau (AG)
District : Aarauw
BFS no. : 4001i1 f3 f4
Postal code : 5000, 5004 Aarau
5032 Aarau Rohr
Coordinates : 645 731  /  249.29 thousand coordinates: 47 ° 23 '34 "  N , 8 ° 2' 40"  O ; CH1903:  645731  /  two hundred and forty-nine thousand two hundred ninety
Height : 384  m above sea level M.
Height range : 356–488 m above sea level M.
Area : 12.34  km²
Residents: i21,473 (December 31, 2019)
Population density : 1740 inhabitants per km²
Proportion of foreigners :
(residents without
citizenship )
20.8% (December 31, 2019)
Website: www.aarau.ch
View of the old town from the west

View of the old town from the west

Location of the municipality
Hallwilersee Kanton Basel-Landschaft Kanton Solothurn Bezirk Bremgarten Bezirk Brugg Bezirk Kulm Bezirk Laufenburg Bezirk Lenzburg Bezirk Rheinfelden Bezirk Zofingen Aarau Biberstein Buchs AG Densbüren Erlinsbach AG Gränichen Hirschthal AG Küttigen Muhen Oberentfelden Suhr AG UnterentfeldenMap of Aarau
About this picture

Aarau [ˈaːraʊ] , in the Swiss German local dialect [ˈɑːɾaʊ] , is a medium- sized town and municipality in the Swiss canton of Aargau . It is the capital of this canton and also of the Aarau district . The city is 39 kilometers south-east of Basel , 38 km west of Zurich and 67 kilometers northeast of Bern (both as the crow flies).

The city on the right bank of the Aare is located on the northern edge of the Swiss plateau and at the transition to the Jura Mountains . The western city limits also form the border with the Canton of Solothurn . Aarau has over 21,000 inhabitants, making it the most populous municipality in the canton. Around 80,000 people live in the narrow agglomeration and around 220,000 in the Aarau economic area.

Founded between 1240 and 1250 by the Counts of Kyburg , Aarau received city ​​rights from the Habsburgs in 1283 . From 1415 Aarau was a subject city of Bern and after the introduction of the Reformation in 1528 one of the places of assembly of the Swiss Confederation . From March to September 1798, in the first year of the Helvetic Republic , Aarau was the first capital of Switzerland. Aarau has been the canton capital since 1803 and has performed numerous central functions as an important administrative, commercial and service center. In 2010 the neighboring pipe was incorporated.

Sights include the Schlössli and the Upper Tower from the 13th century, the late Gothic town church , the town hall and the old town with baroque gabled houses and rows of late Gothic houses.


Urban structure and landscape

Old town of Aarau
Aare and Chain Bridge , seen from Schacheninsel
Aarau and Jura
Historic aerial photo by Werner Friedli from 1958

Aarau's old town stands on a limestone rock head that slopes steeply on two sides, penetrates the river lowlands of the Aare valley and thus forms a narrow point. Newer city quarters extend on the high terrace that adjoins this rock head to the east and south, as well as on both sides of the Aare flowing from west to east . The river forms the border between two differently shaped landscapes, the Swiss Plateau on the south side and the Chain Jura on the north side. In the north, the terrain rises steeply to the Hungerberg, which is bordered on its northern flank by the Rombach Valley. Towards the south, the high terrace gradually rises to the wooded ranges of hills Distelberg and Gönhard, which also form the natural border with the Suhrental . In the west, the border with the canton of Solothurn runs in the Roggenhausertal and Schachen .

The Aare is divided into two arms by two narrow islands. To the west of the Chain Bridge is the 2.3 kilometer long Schacheninsel, to the east of it the 1.9 kilometer long Zurlindeninsel. Both islands are 50 to 100 meters wide on average and were created by the excavation of commercial canals. The Stadtbach , an artificial watercourse created in the 13th century, flows from southeast to northwest . Originally due to the groundwater rising to the surface in several places , today also fed by the Suhre, Uerke and some side streams, it crosses the city and flows into the Aare after four kilometers. An extensive gravel plain stretches east of the Suhre, which formed the municipal boundary to Rohr until 2009 . It is criss-crossed by numerous small watercourses, former branches of the once strongly meandering Aare. To the north of Rohr, the flood protection dam was set back around 900 meters in length in 2008/09 in order to recreate the former floodplain landscape . This had been gradually pushed back until the 1930s due to the canalization of the Aare.

The total area of ​​the municipality is 1234 hectares . Of this, 400 hectares are forested and 614 hectares are built over. The neighboring municipalities in the canton of Aargau are Erlinsbach AG in the northwest, Küttigen in the north, Biberstein in the northeast, Rupperswil in the east, Buchs and Suhr in the southeast and Unterentfelden in the south. In the west of the canton of Solothurn are the municipalities of Eppenberg-Wöschnau and Erlinsbach SO . The highest point is at 471  m above sea level. M. the Hungerberg on the border with Küttigen, the lowest point is at 358  m above sea level. M. on the banks of the Aare northeast of Rohr. The settlement area of ​​Buchs, the two Erlinsbach, Küttigen and Suhr has grown together with that of Aarau.


Aarau lies in the temperate climate zone . The climate is shaped on the one hand by winds from westerly directions, which often bring precipitation , and on the other hand by the bise (east or north-east wind), which is usually associated with high pressure, but causes cooler weather phases in all seasons than would be expected on average. The foehn , which is important in the Alpine valleys and on the edge of the Alps , does not normally have any particular climatic effects on Aarau.

The closest MeteoSwiss measuring station is in the neighboring municipality of Buchs. The annual mean temperature there is 9.6 ° C. The coldest month is January with an average of 0.5 ° C, the warmest is July with 19.0 ° C. There are an average of 10.8 hot days above 30 ° C and 16.9 ice days below 0 ° C. The annual amount of precipitation is around 1076 mm, with higher amounts being measured especially in the three summer months due to the convection than during the other seasons. The maximum is reached in June and July with 112 mm each, the minimum in February with 66 mm.

Buchs AG, 1981-2010
Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Average monthly temperatures and precipitation for Buchs AG, 1981–2010
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 3.2 5.2 10.3 14.5 19.3 22.6 25.2 24.5 19.9 14.4 7.6 4.0 O 14.3
Min. Temperature (° C) −2.0 −2.1 1.0 3.9 8.3 11.5 13.3 12.9 9.6 6.5 1.8 -0.7 O 5.4
Temperature (° C) 0.5 1.3 5.4 9.1 13.7 16.9 19.0 18.3 14.3 10.0 4.5 1.7 O 9.6
Precipitation ( mm ) 69 66 76 76 111 112 112 108 90 87 80 89 Σ 1,076
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 1.3 2.4 3.8 5.1 5.6 6.5 7.1 6.4 4.8 2.7 1.4 1.0 O 4th
Rainy days ( d ) 10.6 9.1 11.0 11.1 12.3 12.0 11.5 11.0 9.2 10.1 10.3 11.5 Σ 129.7
Humidity ( % ) 83 80 74 71 72 72 72 76 80 84 85 85 O 77.8
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec


Prehistory and Antiquity

Various traces of settlement during the Neolithic Age have been found in Aarau , including a small settlement on the Hungerberg. At the end of the Bronze Age (around 1000 BC) there was another settlement near the present train station , and there were several grain stores near Rohr . No settlement can be proven for the Latène period , but paths from the Jura passes Benkerjoch , Salhöhe and Schafmatt to a common crossing of the Aare are bundled in Aarau's municipal area .

The Romans used the Aarau area from the 1st century BC. As a traffic junction. The course of the Bahnhofstrasse corresponds roughly to that of the Roman road between the legionary camp Vindonissa ( Windisch ) and the city of Aventicum ( Avenches ). A mansio may have been located here, while a settlement existed in the eastern area of ​​the later old town. In 1976 divers found parts of a bridge in the Aare, which made the connection to the Jura passes. Especially the Salhöhe, via which Augusta Raurica could be reached, seems to have played an important role. A side street led east to the Vicus Lindfeld near Lenzburg , subordinate paths to the Suhrental and Wynental . There were several estates in the neighborhood, for example on the Kirchberg near Küttigen and near Oberentfelden . In 1919, numerous Terra Sigillata ceramic vessels from the 2nd and 3rd centuries were found during construction work on the grounds of the cantonal hospital.

In 259 broke through the Alemanni the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes , until two decades later, the Romans were able to gain control of the area. The decimated population moved away and pushed into fortified forts elsewhere. On the Aarau rock head was to the rear fuse Danube-Iller-Rhine-Limes one waiting . At the beginning of the 5th century, the Romans finally withdrew.

Origin of the city

The Alamanni began to settle permanently at the beginning of the 7th century and founded a village settlement, which several hundred years later bore the name "zen Husen" (near the houses) and from which the Vordere Vorstadt developed. In the 9th century, iron ore was mined in Oberholz am Distelberg . In the 10th and 11th centuries , a church was built in what is now Telliquartier , at a ford across the Aare, the remains of which were discovered during construction work in 1936 and examined more closely in 1959/60. In the second half of the 13th century the church seems to have been carefully demolished, only the foundation remained. The Schlössli was built around 1236/37 , a tower castle on the edge of a further settlement focus. At the beginning of the 13th century, this belonged together with Buchs and Rohr to a Twing administered from Suhr . The rulers were the Kyburgs , who had inherited the Lenzburgs in 1173 and had both blood and lower jurisdiction .

Between 1240 and 1250 the Kyburg counts Hartmann IV and Hartmann V founded the city of Aarau on the rock head above the Aare. The earliest evidence of the place name dates from 1248 (Arowe) . It is made up of the river name Aare (in the oldest references Arula, Arola, Araris ) and the word Au ( mhd. Ouwe, ahd. Ouwa , land on the water). The oldest known evidence of the existence of an urban settlement dates back to 1256. Fourteen years later, the St. Ursula Monastery was founded, a branch of the Schänis women's monastery . The "Tower Rore" served as the seat of the Kyburg government officials. In the last quarter of the 13th century, the previous building of the city ​​church was built , but Aarau remained part of the Suhr parish until 1568.

In 1263 the Kyburger family died out. Agnes von Kyburg, who no longer had any male relatives, sold the entire property to her godfather Rudolf I von Habsburg in 1273 . On March 4, 1283, he held a court day in Lucerne . In doing so, he confirmed the market law that was already in force and also granted Aarau town charter . It was based on the city law of Winterthur from 1264, but contained some restrictions. For the time being , the Aarau residents were not allowed to determine the mayor themselves. In 1301 they gave themselves an autonomous statute. In 1337 the townspeople obtained the abolition of the tax privileges of the nobility with Duke Albrecht II. Only the Rore tower remained tax-free as a manorial fief. A permeable patriciate developed from the landed aristocrats, landowners and craftsmen. Aarau was spared during the Gugler campaign in 1375 , in contrast to neighboring Lenzburg. In 1386 over a dozen Aarau citizens died in the battle of Sempach , including the mayor. Two years later, Bernese troops devastated the unfortified suburb, in early 1389 various surrounding villages.

Rule of the Bernese

City church and Haldentor

Duke Friedrich IV fell from grace at the Council of Constance in 1415 after he had antipope John XXIII. had helped escape. King Sigismund urged the Confederates to conquer Aargau in the name of the empire. Aarau was then besieged by troops from Bern and Solothurn . The city initially offered resistance, and the hospital in the suburb caught fire. After two days the Aarau surrendered on April 20, 1415 and had to swear allegiance to the new masters. In return, they were allowed to keep their acquired freedoms. Sigismund declared Aarau a free imperial city , but this measure was of little importance, as Bern took over the pledge of the conquered areas in the Bernese Aargau on May 1, 1418 . The Solothurnians received financial compensation for their help, but the Bernese gradually excluded them and were sole rulers from 1461.

As a so-called municipal city, Aarau had a special position within the state of Bern . It was not assigned to any bailiwick and had great autonomy . At the top was the mayor, who was elected by the municipal assembly from the middle of the 14th century and whose term of office was limited to two years from 1522. Often, however, the mayor and governor took turns . Together with seven other people, they formed the “Small Council”, which took on the various administrative tasks. Among them was the «Middle Council» with 18 members, which exercised a control function. All councilors came from the ranks of the 45-strong magistrate (“council and burger”), which acted as both lower and higher court. The magistrate, which developed in the course of the 16th century, succeeded in disempowering the community assembly and offices were only given within families capable of regimentation.

Aarau tried to establish its own judicial system as early as the Habsburg era . Schultheiss Ulrich Trutmann privately acquired the lower jurisdiction over Unterentfelden in 1312 , and in 1411 it came into the possession of the city. In 1417 Aarau acquired the rule of Königstein from the impoverished Kienbergers , but sold it again in 1453 for unknown reasons. The part west of the Erzbach with Nieder- and Obererlinsbach went to the Falkensteiner and five years later to Solothurn, the eastern part with Erlinsbach and Küttigen to the Johanniterkommende in Biberstein . Frequent disputes over land use prompted Aarau to sell the rights over Unterentfelden to Bern in 1576 in exchange for a share of the customs revenue in Biberstein. The exception to this was Roggenhausen , a Steckhof that had belonged to Aarau since 1527 .

Aarau was obliged to provide troops and take part in the Bern campaigns. In May 1449, in the final phase of the Old Zurich War , a mercenary group led by Hans von Rechberg and Thomas von Falkenstein undertook a raid into the Aare valley. The city regiment was able to push them back via Staffelegg , but was ambushed near Wölflinswil and lost 19 men. In 1523 people priest Andreas Honold began to disseminate Reformation ideas, but was deposed a year later. At the Bern disputation in January 1528, the supporters of the Reformation finally prevailed, whereupon Bern consistently introduced the new denomination in all subject areas. Pro forma consultative votes took place in all cities and rural bailiffs. On March 1, 1528, 146 citizens in Aarau spoke out in favor of the Reformation, 125 voted against. Then there was an iconoclasm in the city church . From 1529, due to its central location between Basel , Bern and Zurich, regular meetings of the Reformed towns took place in Aarau .

Society and Economy in the Early Modern Era

The city of Aarau in the Stumpfschen Chronik (1548)

During the reign of Bern, Aarau usually had between 1000 and 1200 inhabitants. The stagnation is due to several epidemics. For example, over 100 people died of the plague in 1549/50, around 700 in 1630 (about half of the city's population) and another 120 in 1667. In 1764, 126 people died of the dysentery .

View of Aarau (1612), drawn by Hans Ulrich Fisch

The markets were the economic focus. Weekly markets have been documented since 1443, the number of annual markets rose to seven by 1578 and remained constant thereafter. However, the catchment area was tightly limited due to several nearby cities. From 1620 at the latest, a "brotherhood" existed, an association of local traders and shopkeepers to ward off competition. Foreign market drivers had to acquire a membership if they wanted to sell their goods. The city ​​authorities were solely responsible for the salt trade from 1574 until Bern took over the monopoly a hundred years later. Tradespeople and craftsmen were also of great importance . However, only church bell founders and cutlers were of supraregional importance . There were craft associations, but politically influential guilds were never founded. In contrast to other cities, agriculture also played a certain role, as Aarau had a lot of good arable land. In 1777 a survey showed a usable area of ​​2180 Jucharten (725 hectares). The viticulture was relatively insignificant; on the Hungerberg there was a 60 Jucharten vineyard.

The textile industry established itself in Aarau from the early 18th century . The establishment of a woolen cloth factory has been handed down from 1703; cotton weaving and silk manufacture were added later. The first printing house in India was established in 1755. Numerous immigrants worked as manufacturers. These included the Frey from Lindau and the Herosé from Speyer . These wealthy and educated circles had little political power and had to distinguish themselves in other ways. Education in particular gave them the opportunity to exert influence. In 1787 the industrialists were finally able to implement a fundamental reform of the urban school system, which was in the spirit of the Enlightenment .

Revolutionary years

View of Aarau in 1788

Demands for equality and human rights after the beginning of the French Revolution met with great approval in Aarau. The industrialists, who strove to break the frozen conditions, spread their views in the population. On December 27, 1797, the last assembly of the old Confederation took place in Aarau. Two weeks later, the French ambassador Joseph Mengaud settled down to further fuel the revolutionary mood, as the contrast between a high level of education and a lack of political rights was particularly evident here. The followers of the old order renewed the federal oath on January 25, 1798 in Aarauer Schachen in front of 25,000 spectators. However, this symbolic act was unable to conceal the ancien régime's apparent helplessness in the face of impending developments.

At the beginning of 1798 the French were advancing more and more and the end of the Bernese rule was foreseeable. Aarau revolted on January 30th and refused to send soldiers to protect Bern. A "security committee" led by Major Daniel Pfleger overthrew the city council. But on February 4, the third Bern division took the city without a fight and reinstated the old council, while the leaders of the Aarau Revolution fled to the liberated Basel area . This setback was short-lived: one month later, on March 5, Bern capitulated after the lost battle of the Grauholz and in Aarau the revolutionaries regained power.

French troops occupied the city in mid-March 1798. From the window of the town hall, Peter Ochs proclaimed the Helvetic Republic on April 12, 1798 . On May 3rd, the Senate of the new state elected Aarau as the provisional capital and thus the first capital of Switzerland due to its revolutionary sentiments. The parliament used the town hall as a meeting place, the board of directors moved the house to the palace garden . But Aarau was simply too small to carry out the functions of a capital city without any problems. On September 20, the Board of Directors and Parliament moved to Lucerne .

Aarau was the capital of the district of the same name and the canton of Aargau, which only included the former Bernese subject areas (excluding the part to the west of the Wigger ). The revolutionary mood quickly evaporated. The Second Coalition War in 1799, when hundreds of French soldiers were billeted in the city, contributed to this. When the French withdrew from Switzerland for a few months, the supporters of the old order had the upper hand. During the plug-in liqueur war , Aarau surrendered on September 14, 1802 to angry and plundering farmers from the area. Five weeks later, the retreating French put an end to the anarchic situation.

Increased importance as the canton capital

The Amthaus , the first building of the canton school
Area of ​​the Federal Free Shooting in Aarau (1849)

On February 19, 1803, Napoleon Bonaparte ordered the merger of the cantons of Aargau, Baden and Fricktal in the mediation act . Aarau remained the capital of the enlarged canton of Aargau. This decision resulted in increased construction activity. The city also developed into the intellectual and cultural center of the canton. The cantons' school, which was initially supported by the townspeople, contributed to this, on the one hand (the first non-church high school in Switzerland), and on the other hand, the Aargau cantonal library , whose cornerstone was laid with the purchase of the Zurlauben collection .

In 1812, Aarau extended its parish ban at the expense of the neighboring parish of Suhr. The newly added area was the "Ehefäde", a special agricultural district mentioned for the first time in 1553. This narrow strip of land previously belonged to Suhr in terms of tax law and politics, but most of the land was owned by Aarau citizens and was also managed by them. Aarau paid compensation of 11,000 francs for this. At that time there were also minor border adjustments with Küttigen; others followed in 1911 and 1930 with Buchs and in 1915 with Rohr.

During the Restoration , Aarau was an important center of liberalism in Switzerland. Newspapers and books could appear here that were subject to censorship or were completely forbidden elsewhere. In particular, the Sauerländer publishing house and its main author Heinrich Zschokke stood out. From the 1820s the city was also a place of refuge for political refugees from Prussia and other German states. Nevertheless, there were also restorative tendencies in the canton of Aargau. After the government had ignored the demands of various committees and popular assemblies, a storm of free offices broke out . Around 6,000 armed men marched on May 5th and 6th. December 1830 from Freiamt to Aarau and took the city without a fight. They occupied the armory, surrounded the government building and forced the government to reform the constitution.

All-Swiss institutions founded in Aarau promoted the creation of a federal state: in 1824 the Swiss Rifle Club was established on the occasion of the first Federal Shooting Festival , and in 1832 on the occasion of the first Federal Gymnastics Festival, the Swiss Gymnastics Association . The Federal Singers' Association was founded in 1842, followed by the Swiss Charitable Women's Association in 1888. The main setting for the novella " The Flag of the Seven Upright ", with which Gottfried Keller celebrated the achievements of the Swiss federal state , is the Federal Free Shooting, which took place in Aarau in 1849.

At the beginning of the 19th century handicrafts still dominated economic activity, but was soon replaced by the textile industry. This profited from the continental barrier , which temporarily switched off the strong British competition and enabled rapid mechanization. In 1810 Johannes Herzog opened the canton's first mechanical spinning mill. A dozen companies in this branch followed, which were competitive due to the low wage level. The largest was Hunziker & Co. , which at times employed over 2,400 homeworkers in the region.

Transport hub and industrial city

During a flood in September 1831, the medieval wooden bridge over the Aare collapsed. Due to disputes over competence and incompetent site managers, the new building took over seven years to complete and was not completed until October 1838. During this time, the traffic had to be handled by ferries. In July 1843, the new bridge also collapsed during another flood. After five years of discussion and two years of construction, the chain bridge was opened to traffic in December 1850 , a suspension bridge made of steel link chains (replaced by a concrete bridge in 1948/49).

The train station around 1870
Chocolat Frey factory building at the beginning of the 20th century

On June 9, 1856, the Swiss Central Railway opened the railway line from Aarau via Olten to Emmenbrücke , the Swiss Northeast Railway from Aarau to Brugg followed on May 1, 1858. The originally planned route along the Aare, which at that time was still wildly flowing, was in favor of one for safety reasons Abandoned tunnel under the entrenchment. Aarau station was only a through station along the main line from Bern to Zurich . Since the project of a tunnel under the Schafmatt did not materialize, the more ideally located town of Olten took on the role of a national hub. Aarau had to be content with becoming a regional hub. On September 6, 1877, the Swiss National Railroad put the short branch line to Suhr into operation. Aarau was hoping for new impetus from the construction of the Aargau Southern Railway , but the route , which was built in stages between 1874 and 1882 and connected to the Gotthard Railway , could not meet the high expectations, as other traffic flows had already established themselves. Shortly after the turn of the century, two electric trams were opened, on November 19, 1901 the Aarau- Schöftland -Bahn and on March 5, 1904 the Wynentalbahn to Menziken . Both railways merged in 1958 to form the Wynental and Suhrental railways (WSB).

A radical structural change took place in the 1850s. The textile industry collapsed completely due to the protectionist customs policy of neighboring countries. In the place of a few dominant large companies in a single branch, medium-sized companies that manufactured a wide variety of products took the place. Due to the rapid decline of the textile industry, Aarau fell behind other cities. Another structural weakness revealed itself with the loss of cheap homeworkers in the region due to increased emigration. The local financial institutions Aargauische Bank ( converted to Cantonal Bank in 1913 ) and Aargauische Kreditanstalt (merged into the Bankgesellschaft in 1919 ) were unable to provide enough capital with which the city could have caught up.

New industries that emerged in Aarau, including the production of goods Rice stuff ( Kern & Co . ), Cement ( Fleiner & Co. , Jura-Cement factories ), shoes (branch of the nearby Schönenwerd domiciled Bally , Fretz & Cie. ), Cast steel ( Oehler & Cie. ) And graphics ( Trüb AG ). After a crisis in the 1870s, another wave of start-ups in the fields of electrical engineering ( Kummler & Matter , Sprecher + Schuh ) and food processing ( Chocolat Frey ) took place around the turn of the century . However, none of these businesses could compensate for Aarau's relative loss of importance. All the more energetically, the city pushed forward projects that strengthened the central local functions. This included the expansion of the Aarau barracks (made the main location of the fifth infantry division in 1876), the establishment of the teachers' college (1873) and the cantonal hospital (1882) and the expansion of the cantonal school (1896).

Development since the 20th century

City map from 1911

The outbreak of the First World War caught the population and the economy equally unprepared. Due to the high inflation, large parts of the population became impoverished, which posed major socio-political problems for the city. Since hundreds of soldiers were also stationed in Aarau, the Spanish flu spread particularly quickly in the second half of 1918 ; the authorities registered 2,440 sick people, around one percent of the population succumbed to the epidemic. The national strike in November 1918 went off without incident, and a vigilante group ensured peace and order. In 1914, the impoverished neighboring communities of Rohr and Unterentfelden made a formal request to be incorporated. The city of Aarau fought this project because it feared that it would have to increase the tax rate. However, in 1919, after long negotiations, she agreed to pay support contributions. Payments were made until 1950.

In order to alleviate the acute shortage of living space and at the same time limit the influence of speculation on settlement development, the city pursued a targeted land policy from 1916. By 1953 she had acquired a total of 86 hectares of land and sold the developed plots on at favorable terms, with construction work having to start within a year. In this way, residential quarters were created that were planned according to uniform criteria and - similar to the ideals of the Garden City movement - had a large proportion of green space. Housing cooperatives did not come into play until the 1930s. A project for a port facility on the Aare, which was approved by the Grand Council in 1920 , to serve inland freight shipping, was never implemented.

The inter-war period was marked by strong economic fluctuations, which exposed Aarau's industry to a tough test. It was particularly hard hit by the global economic crisis from 1929 onwards . The number of unemployed rose sharply in the meantime and individual companies went bankrupt. Businesses in particular suffered from the downturn. During the Second World War , Aarau was affected by the usual measures such as blackout and rationing. As part of the cultivation battle , the agriculturally usable area was expanded from 50 to 122 hectares. With the exception of the explosion of a missile accidentally fired by the Allies in late December 1944, the city was spared any damage.

Überbauung setting

After the war, the built-up area expanded further. Soon, however, the city authorities were aware that the building land reserves would quickly be exhausted with the previously common garden city construction, which is why they sought a more rational use of the land. Mayor Erich Zimmerlin and architect Hans Marti developed the building regulations for the city of Aarau , which came into force in 1959 and are considered one of the first modern building law and planning instruments in Switzerland. It enabled the densification of the areas near the old town as well as the construction of apartment blocks and high-rise buildings on the periphery. On the last building land reserve in the city, the Telli large housing estate was built in three stages between 1971 and 1991 , also based on plans by Hans Marti. Originally four long rows of living quarters and three high-rise buildings were planned. Due to the bankruptcy of the responsible general contractor, the construction of two high-rise buildings did not materialize.

From the 1960s onwards, more people worked in service companies and in cantonal administration than in industry, which was gradually becoming less important. The canton tried to steer the seemingly unstoppable growth in the right direction. A polycentric city with the name Aarolfingen (Aarau – Olten – Zofingen) was planned, which should have 330,000 inhabitants. But the economic crisis of the 1970s put a quick end to these big city dreams. In the 1980s and 1990s, Aarau experienced another radical structural change: several well-known industrial companies were dissolved, others relocated their production to the suburbs. Nevertheless, Aarau remained an important business location. Ambitious transport projects such as a six-lane bypass road along the banks of the Aare or a north-south tunnel under the barracks area have been put aside. On the other hand, the partial relocation of the WSB into a tunnel, the expansion of important intersections, a motorway feeder and a one-way ring in the city center were implemented.

In a referendum on February 24, 2008, the voters of Aarau and Rohr voted for the merger of the two communities on January 1, 2010. With a little more than 20,400 inhabitants, Aarau is now the most populous city in the canton.

Cityscape and architecture

Old town

Painted underside of a roof gable

The well-preserved old town is the result of uniform planning by the Kyburger. Around the two intersecting main streets (Rathausgasse and Kirchgasse / Kronengasse) four blocks of houses are arranged, which are called “floors”. Around it is an alley ring with another row of houses. In the 14th century, the city was expanded concentrically in two stages (the northern flank was excluded). The old city wall was either removed or integrated into newly constructed buildings. A second outer wall was built as a replacement. On the south and east side, where the rock head merges flat into the raised terrace, there was a wide ditch that separated the city from the unpaved suburb.

The Rore tower at the rear of the town hall

To a large extent, the structure of the old town can be traced back to building projects in the 16th and 17th centuries, when almost all of the buildings dating from the Middle Ages were replaced or extended. The architectural development came to an end in the late 18th century when the city began to expand significantly. The old town houses are predominantly in the late Gothic style. A special feature are around 70 roof gables with painted undersides ( rounds ), which is why Aarau is also known as the “city of beautiful gables”. At the beginning of the 19th century, in keeping with the zeitgeist of that time, the medieval fortifications were felt to be restrictive. After the slightly fortified Aare gate had already disappeared, the Laurenzentor was also demolished in 1812/13. 1820 dragged to the city walls, poured the ditch and walked him to an alley.

The oldest part of the city fortifications is the Schlössli at the northeast corner of the old town, but just outside the former wall ring. This 25 meter high residential tower was built in the first half of the 13th century shortly before the city was founded and consists of roughly hewn megalithic masonry . A little younger, but in the same architectural style, is the Rore tower. After losing its privilege as a Freihof in 1517 , it was integrated into the newly built town hall by 1520 . The construction of the Upper Tower next to the southern city gate is also related to the founding of the city. It was raised at the turn of the 15th to the 16th century and dominates the cityscape with a height of 62 meters. The Haldentor in the west and a short wall with the powder tower in the southwest corner have also been preserved.

The town church stands on the north-western edge of the old town, directly on the edge of the rock head. It was built between 1471 and 1478 according to the architecture of the mendicant order and presents itself as a simple three-aisled basilica . The church tower comes from the previous building and was built in 1426/27. The Fountain of Justice, created in 1643, stands on the square in front of the church . Other architecturally outstanding buildings are the former St. Ursula Monastery on Golattenmattgasse, the Haus zum Erker on Rathausgasse, the Christian Catholic rectory on Adelbändli, the Alte Schaal on Metzgergasse and the Zunftstube on Pelzgasse.


The suburb, which extends to the south, is partly older than the old town itself. It emerged from the "zen Husen" settlement and was significantly expanded in the 14th century, but remained unpaved. Here too, some of the houses have the typical painted rims. In the Vorderen Vorstadt , the Saxer House , built in 1693, stands out in particular . In the rear suburb , which runs parallel, you can find various town houses and the neo-Gothic monkey box . The upper mill, built in 1608, forms the end of this street .

From the old town, the Laurenzenvorstadt leads in a wide arc in an easterly direction. This street is related to Aarau's appointment to the Helvetic Republic in 1798. The city council commissioned the Alsatian architect Johann Daniel Osterrieth to plan a representative government district. After a short time he presented the Plan d'Agrandissement de la commune d'Aarau (expansion plan for the municipality of Aarau). Several government buildings, a church, a theater and a barracks were planned. Since the government moved away after only six months, only the classicist New Houses on the north side were finally realized. While the Haus zum Schlossgarten , Meyerhaus and the Amthaus already existed at that time, other classicist buildings did not emerge until the next few decades. These include the pillared house and the main building of the infantry barracks .

Remaining city area

Bank building on Bahnhofstrasse

After the station opened in 1858, Bahnhofstrasse developed into the main traffic axis and most important shopping street in the city. In order to underline their great importance, several representative, sometimes even monumental buildings in the late classicist and historicizing style were built. The main post office, bank building, Naturama and the buildings of the old canton school are particularly worth mentioning . The Catholic parish church of St. Peter and Paul is set back a little . A special feature are the Meyer's tunnels , a kilometer-long network of underground water channels that Johann Rudolf Meyer had secretly built at the beginning of the 19th century as a supply line to drive his silk ribbon factory.

Aargauerplatz is located at the intersection of Bahnhofstrasse and Vorderer Vorstadt. On its south side is the government building , the seat of the cantonal government. It was built between 1811 and 1834 through the renovation and expansion of the Löwen inn, which had been in existence since 1739. Southern facing its rear facade the 1826/28 built Grossrat building , in which the Big Council , Canton the Parliament session. The government quarter is complemented on its west side by the modern buildings of the Aargauer Kantonsbibliothek and the Aargauer Kunsthaus ; behind it extends the Rathausgarten, a small park with several sculptures.

In the north-east of the city, the large Telli housing estate, designed according to modern principles, was built . Around one eighth of Aarau's population lives in four long, high rows of houses. This “city within the city” also includes a shopping center and the Telli high-rise, which houses part of the cantonal administration. The Telliring can also be found in the Telliquartier . This circular lawn, surrounded by trees, is the first public gymnasium in Switzerland. The area south of Bahnhofstrasse is characterized by a garden city-like development with numerous green spaces. The most important sights in this area are the Herosé monastery , the Rosengarten cemetery and the Francke-Gut . Villa Blumenhalde is located on the southern slope of the Hungerberg north of the Aare .

coat of arms

Coat of arms from 1543 in the town hall of Stein am Rhein.

The blazon of the city's coat of arms reads: "Under a red shield head in white, red armored and tongue-tongued black eagle." The city seal of 1270 showed an eagle and a three-leaved linden tree with flowers. A depiction of the coat of arms in the Tschachtlan Chronicle from 1470 does without the linden tree, but for the first time a red shield head can be seen above the eagle. The eagle owes its use as heraldic animal of the city of Aarau to a folk etymological reinterpretation of the name as " Au des Aars ".


The population developed as follows (up to and including 2000 without pipe):

year 1558 1764 1798 1850 1900 1930 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010
Residents approx. 1'200 1,868 2,458 4,657 7,831 11,666 14,280 17'045 16,881 15,788 16,481 15,470 19,652

The following information relates to the sum of the municipalities of Aarau and Rohr.

On December 31, 2019, 21,473 people lived in Aarau, the proportion of foreigners was 20.8% and was thus below the cantonal average of 25.2%. According to the 2015 census , of the 4142 residents with foreign citizenship at the time, 19.9% ​​came from Germany , 12.5% ​​from Italy , 8.8% from Kosovo , 5.9% from Turkey , 5.4% from Serbia , 3.5% each from Croatia and Spain , 3.2% each from Portugal , Sri Lanka and Bosnia and Herzegovina , 2.5% from Austria and 2.0% from Macedonia . In the 2000 census, 84.5% of those questioned stated German as their main language. This was followed by 3.3% Italian , 2.9% Serbo-Croatian , 1.4% Spanish , 1.1% French , 1.0% each Albanian and Turkish, and 0.5% each English and Portuguese .

The development of the population has been continuous since 1800; within 150 years the population grew more than sixfold. In 1960 the temporary high was reached at 17,045, but by 2000 the number of inhabitants decreased again by over 8%. There were three main reasons for this: First, with the completion of the large Telli housing estate , the city no longer had any significant reserves of building land. Second, the number of people per household decreased, which meant that the existing living space was less used. Thirdly, the neighboring agglomeration communities absorbed the population growth and numerous Aarau residents moved "into the green" from the city. After the turn of the millennium, this negative trend could be stopped. Due to the increased conversion of abandoned industrial buildings for residential purposes, the existing buildings are better used, and more than 3000 inhabitants were added by the incorporation of Rohr.

The population of Aarau was almost exclusively reformed after the Reformation was introduced in 1528 . As a result of immigration from the rest of Switzerland and above all from abroad, the proportion of people with the Roman Catholic denomination increased continuously from the 19th century. Due to immigration from Southeastern Europe and Turkey, Sunni Muslims grew into the third largest religious community in the last quarter of the 20th century. In the 2015 census, 31.6% described themselves as Reformed and 23.0% as Roman Catholic; 45.4% were non-denominational or of other faiths.

Politics and law

The Political Municipality (called community of residents in the canton of Aargau) performs all municipal tasks that have not been declared to be the sphere of activity of another type of municipality (for example, the parishes of the regional churches ) by superordinate law .

legislative branch

14th 11 10 
A total of 50 seats

Instead of a community meeting that is common in smaller communities, the community parliament, the residents ' council, elected by the Aarau voters , has been representing the concerns of the population since 1970 . It consists of 50 members who are each elected for four years by proportional representation. He is responsible for approving the tax rate , the budget, the annual accounts, the annual report and the loans. It also issues regulations, controls the conduct of office of the executive and decides on naturalizations . The residents' councils can submit parliamentary proposals ( motion , postulate , small questions ). The venue is the hall of the Grand Council building .

The graphic on the right shows the distribution of seats after the election on November 26, 2017. In the last five elections, the parties achieved the following number of seats:

Political party 2001 2005 2009 2013 2017
SP 12 12 11 12 14th
FDP 13 12 10 10 11
SVP 11 09 12 11 10
Green 02 04th 06th 05 05
Pro Aarau 04th 04th 03 04th 03
CVP 04th 04th 03 03 03
glp 0- 0- 02 03 02
EPP 03 03 02 02 02
NOW! 01 02 01 0- 0-

Various elements of direct democracy can also be found at the level of the resident community . The population is entitled to optional and compulsory referendums as well as the popular initiative .


The executing authority is the seven-member city ​​council . He is elected by the people for four years in a majority process . The city council leads and represents the local community. To this end, it implements the resolutions of the residents' council and the tasks assigned to it by the canton. The meetings take place in the town hall . As head of the executive practicing Mayor from its activities in full office, the other councilors in the next office.

The seven city councilors for the 2018–2021 term are:

  • Hanspeter Hilfiker (FDP), city president
  • Werner Schib (CVP), Vice President
  • Angelica Cavegn Leitner (Pro Aarau)
  • Franziska Graf (SP)
  • Suzanne Marclay (FDP)
  • Daniel Siegenthaler (SP)
  • Hanspeter Thür (GPS)


The Aarau District Court is the first instance responsible for legal disputes . Aarau is the seat of Friedensrichterkreis I, which comprises five communities in the north of the district.

National elections

In the Swiss parliamentary elections 2019, the share of the vote in Aarau was: SP 26.4%, FDP 16.7%, SVP 16.3%, Greens 14.7%, glp 10.9%, CVP 5.7%, EPP 3, 6%, BDP 2.5%, team 65+ 1.1%.

Local citizen

The local civic community includes those residents who are citizens of Aarau. Its main task is the management of the local citizens' property, the origin of which lies in the civil estates that were taken over from the time of the Ancien Régime. For example, the local community owns 623 hectares of forest in Aarau and neighboring communities, which is managed by its own forestry office. Her property also includes a gravel pit in Staufen , a vineyard in Herznach and various pieces of land and properties. The legislature is the local citizens' assembly, the executive is the city council of the municipality (which also includes non-local citizens).


Aarau's twin cities are Neuchâtel , Delft in the Netherlands and Reutlingen in Germany . The partnership with Delft began in 1969 with mutual exchange visits. Contacts with Reutlingen existed shortly after the First World War, were reactivated on a technical level in 1970 and formally sealed in 1986. After first contacts in 1984, the partnership with Neuchâtel officially began in 1997.

Since September 2017, Aarau has had the “Energy City GOLD” label , which is presented by the “Association European Energy Award” forum.



az media center

Aarau, once an important industrial center, has been dominated by the service sector since the second half of the 20th century . The economic activities are concentrated in the city center as well as on the industrial and commercial zones Torfeld and Telli . According to the company structure statistics (STATENT) collected in 2015, over 33,000 jobs are offered in more than 2,400 companies, 0.1% of them in agriculture , 9.2% in industry and 90.7% in the service sector. This means that Aarau has significantly more jobs than residents.

More than half of the people working in Aarau live in the agglomeration communities or in the wider area. This creates large flows of commuters on working days , which regularly lead to traffic jams. No Swiss city has more jobs in relation to the number of inhabitants than Aarau. Due to its small size, the city is increasingly reaching the limits of growth. The agglomeration lies in the middle of the so-called “golden triangle” between Zurich, Bern and Basel and shows it is difficult to assert itself between these big cities as an independent economic center.

Established businesses

By far the largest employer is the cantonal administration. It has several thousand employees, whose jobs are mainly concentrated in the administrative centers of Behmen, Buchenhof and Telli-Hochhaus. The second mainstay of the urban economy is health care. There are two hospitals, the Aarau state hospital and the Hirslanden Klinik Aarau .

Bell foundry H. Rüetschi

The most important industrial company remaining in Aarau is the Swiss branch of Rockwell Automation , which specializes in automation technology. Trüb AG , which emerged from a printing company and is primarily known for the production of identity cards, is active in the fields of identification technology and security technology . Aarau has over 600 years of tradition in the area of church bell casting , which is continued today by the H. Rüetschi company .

The headquarters of the publishing and media company AZ Medien is located in Aarau . This includes the Aargauer Zeitung , Radio Argovia , Tele M1 and the AT Verlag . Another important publisher is the Sauerländer publishing house . Swiss television and Swiss radio DRS as well as the non-commercial radio station Kanal K. are also represented by broadcasting studios. The two largest banks in the canton ( Neue Aargauer Bank and Aargauische Kantonalbank ), the pension funds GastroSocial and Aargauische Pensionskasse as well as other companies have their headquarters in Aarau like AEW Energie , Jura-Holding , Pneu Egger and DB SCHENKERhangartner .

Markets and fairs

Every Saturday morning there is a vegetable market with regional products in the Graben on the edge of the old town. Also there in the last week of September the MAG (Aarau Trade Market) is held, at which regional and supra-regional companies sell their products. At the same place on the first Wednesday in November, the “Rüeblimärt” sells all kinds of varieties and products made from and made from carrots . The AMA (Aargauer Messe Aarau), the largest public and adventure fair in Aargau, takes place in Schachen every spring.

Transport and infrastructure


Aarau is an important traffic junction. The A1 , the most important motorway in Switzerland, runs south of the city . The Aarau-West junction is around five kilometers south of Oberentfelden . The Aarau-Ost connection at Hunzenschwil , located six kilometers to the east, can be reached via a four-lane expressway (T5).

Sauerland tunnel

The city is the intersection of several important main roads . The most important is the main road 5 from Lausanne via Neuchâtel , Solothurn and Aarau to Koblenz . It intersects with Hauptstrasse 23 from Aarau via Beromünster and Sumiswald to Kirchberg and with Hauptstrasse 24 from Frick via Staffelegg and Aarau to Sursee . The latter led over the Chain Bridge until December 2010 ; Since the opening of the Küttigen bypass and a new Aare bridge near Rohr , large areas of north-south traffic have been diverted. The east bypass of the old town with the Sauerland tunnel was opened in March 2003; the old town itself has been largely free of through traffic since March 2006. In addition to the Staffelegg, two other Jura passes can be reached from Aarau, the Benkerjoch and the Salhöhe .

Public transport

Inside the Aarau train station

The public transport hub is the Aarau station of the Swiss Federal Railways , which opened in 1858 . It is one of the most frequented in the country, was completely rebuilt in 2010 and is located on the important east-west main line between Zurich and Bern. This railway line crosses under the Schanzhügel with the government district in two parallel, almost 700 meter long tunnels. There are direct express trains u. a. to Zurich, Bern, Basel and Geneva . Another SBB line, the Aargauische Südbahn , runs via Lenzburg to Rotkreuz . Aarau is the starting point for two narrow-gauge routes on the Wynental and Suhrental Railway (WSB). These tram-like suburban trains run to Menziken in Wynental and Schöftland in Suhrental. The SBB railway line Aarau – Suhr was closed and re -gauged in 2004, since 2010 it has been used by WSB trains in the direction of Menziken.

The transport company Aargau Verkehr , owner of WSB, operates several city bus routes with its subsidiary Busbetrieb Aarau , which also serve the suburbs. In addition, two post bus lines lead over the Jura heights to Frick, one over the Benkerjoch, the other over the Staffelegg. On weekends a night S-Bahn ( Winterthur - Zurich HB - Baden - Lenzburg - Aarau) and night buses run from the station to various communities in the area. Three cycle paths intersect in Aarau : the north-south route , the Aare route and the Mittelland route .


Aarau power plant

The Eniwa AG (until 2018: Industrial Companies Aarau) supplies the city with electricity, gas and drinking water. The company with over 300 employees is a stock corporation with a holding structure in which the city of Aarau and 21 other municipalities hold shares. It was created in 1947 by amalgamating the municipality's own electricity and waterworks and the previously private gasworks.

For centuries, the Stadtbach provided Aarau with drinking water. But it was also used to drive water wheels and to supply commercial enterprises, which resulted in poor water quality. In 1854, 81 people died of cholera , with a population of around 4,000 at the time. It was only when the government council threatened the cantonal authorities to move to Brugg in 1855 that the city began planning a modern water supply. In 1857, the construction of a tunnel began to tap the Stadtbach spring directly. But the workers were in for a much richer source of the groundwater flow of Suhre . From 1860 onwards, Aarau had the first groundwater well in Switzerland. From 1900, after the construction of a reservoir, a high-pressure water supply was available with which the higher-lying quarters could also be developed. In 1943, 1955 and 1962 the water supply was expanded with the construction of three more groundwater pumping stations near the Aare .

Although garbage disposal had been introduced at the end of the 1850s , the numerous ditches and septic tanks in the old town remained for the time being, so there was still a risk of epidemics. In 1910 the main features of the sewer system were completed, but the wastewater was discharged untreated into the Aare. In 1966 the wastewater treatment plant near the mouth of the Suhr in the Telli began operations; today it cleans the sewage of twelve communities.

In 1858 the gas lighting company began producing town gas , mainly for lighting purposes, and to a lesser extent also for driving machines. In 1870 the conversion from wood to hard coal gasification took place. From 1893 the gasworks increasingly shifted its activities from lighting to heat production. The reason for this was the competition from the “power station” opened in the upper mill in the same year . The following year, the Aarau municipal power plant , one of the oldest run-of-river power plants in Switzerland, went into operation (current operator: Eniwa AG ). The Rüchlig power plant was built as early as 1883, but for decades it produced electricity exclusively for the Jura Cement factories . In 1965, Aarau was connected to the natural gas network of the Mittelland gas network; two years later, the gasworks, which had become uneconomical, ceased operations.



Aarau is the most important educational location in the canton, so that most children and young people are able to complete their entire school days here. The seven-person school administration elected by the people is responsible for the proper fulfillment of all tasks of the elementary school and is primarily active on a strategic level. For operational tasks, she employs school heads, who take on pedagogical, personnel and administrative management within the scope of the competencies assigned to her.

In Aarau there are seven kindergartens with 14 departments and five school centers (Aare, Gönhard, Schachen, Telli, Zelgli). All levels of compulsory elementary school are taught, consisting of primary school up to the 5th school year and - depending on performance - the Realschule , the secondary school and the district school up to the 9th school year. In addition, a special education school and a music school are run. The Rohr district has four kindergartens and two school buildings (Brunnbach, Stäpfli) with primary, secondary and secondary schools.

Aarau is the location of two canton schools (grammar schools), the graduation of which ( Matura ) entitles to university studies. The old canton school , which opened in 1802, is the oldest non-church high school in Switzerland. The New Cantonal School has existed since 1979 and emerged from the teachers' seminar. Other schools of importance are the cantonal vocational school, the graphic technical school, the adult education center and the maturity school for adults. The University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland is represented by the University of Design and Art and the University of Education . Further universities of applied sciences are the theological-diaconal seminar and the technical school for health professions H + . There are also various private schools and offers for adult education. The Center for Democracy Aarau , which opened in 2009, is an interdisciplinary institute of the University of Zurich for research on democracy.

Soon after the city was founded, there was a Latin school in Aarau . In 1270 a schoolmaster (scolasticus) was first mentioned in a document. After the Reformation was introduced in 1528, the main focus of the curriculum was on preparing for a theological course in Bern. In the same year the existence of a “German school” can be proven for the first time, which is considered the predecessor of today's elementary school. From 1622 boys and girls were usually taught separately. Various buildings were used as school premises, including the former St. Ursula monastery . From 1787 the boys received lessons in what would later become the Amthaus , the girls from 1815 in the “daughter's school” on Graben. As the city grew, these buildings soon proved to be too small. The Pestalozzi School was opened in 1875 and the Zelglischulhaus in 1911. The first kindergarten followed in 1935, and the Gönhardschule in 1952. In the 1970s, the Aare, Schachen and Telli school buildings were finally built.


The Aargauer Kunsthaus , which opened in 1959, has one of the largest and most important collections of Swiss painting. The focus is on the works of the painters Caspar Wolf , Johann Heinrich Füssli , Ferdinand Hodler , Cuno Amiet and Giovanni Giacometti . The modern extension (2001–03) was designed by the renowned architects Herzog & de Meuron and the artist Rémy Zaugg . Another museum of national importance is the Naturama , the Aargau Museum of Nature opened in 1922. It deals with the flora and fauna of the Aargau, with fossils and minerals and with questions of ecology. The foundation is made up of collections of well-known personalities such as Heinrich Zschokke and Friedrich Frey-Herosé , which were bequeathed to the canton. The city museum in the Schlössli deals with the history of the city of Aarau and also offers an exhibition on surveying instruments and photography .

Aarau has two libraries , the city library (since 1776) and the Aargau canton library (since 1803). Other cultural institutions are the Theater Tuchlaube in the Alte Schaal , the Kunstraum Aarau , the Forum Schlossplatz (art exhibitions in the Haus zum Schlossgarten ), the hall from 1883 (culture and congress house and home of the Aarau Orchestra Association from 1889), the city church (classical concerts ), the youth culture house Flösserplatz, the alternative cultural center KiFF (culture in the feed factory) with the small theater Fabrikpalast , the youth rooms Wenk as well as the galleries Goldenes Kalb and Atelier Bleifrei .

There are two commercial cinemas in Aarau, the Ideal cinema with four halls and the Schloss cinema with two halls. The Cinema Free film is a company specializing in alternative films cinema and is housed in the former printing Sauerland. The One Minute Film & Video Festival has been taking place since 2004 . At this short film festival , films are presented that do not last longer than 60 seconds. The «City of Aarau Culture Prize» has been awarded since 2005 and is endowed with CHF 10,000 and promotes regional artists in all fields.

The children's and youth festival known as the Maienzug is considered the most important festival in Aarau . This custom has a tradition of over 400 years and takes place on the first Friday in July. The highlight is the schoolchildren's move. The May parade eve the day before has developed into a large folk festival over the last few decades. The Chrutwäje Openair music festival is now an integral part of the May procession .

Another traditional custom is the Bachfischet in September: the children accompany the town brook, which is flooded again after the annual cleaning, with a cave light parade. Further events are the Aargauer Rüeblimärt (since 1982) and the Musig i de Altstadt since 2005 , with mostly rock and blues bands playing in various restaurants.

sport and freetime

The Schachenquartier on the western outskirts is Aarau's sporting center. It is the location of the Schachen racecourse , which hosts highly regarded races several times a year. Also in the chess are the swimming pool , an athletics facility with a fin and tartan track , an indoor riding arena and the chess hall for various indoor sports. A second focus is the sports facility of the old canton school in Telliquartier, which, in addition to gyms, includes another athletics facility and an indoor swimming pool . Rolling Rock , a leisure facility with a climbing wall, skate park and hockey field, is located in a former factory building in the Torfeldquartier .

The Brügglifeld stadium, which opened in 1924, is located just beyond the south-eastern city limits in the Suhr municipality. It was the venue for some games of the U-16 European Championship in 1991 and the U-19 European Championship in 2004 . The plan is to replace the stadium with a new building on the fallow industrial site at Torfeld Süd. The first project failed at the polls in September 2005; The main reason for the rejection was the intended use of the shell with a new shopping center. A second project with a significantly reduced shopping area was accepted in February 2008. The new stadium should have opened in 2015, but objections and financing problems have meant that construction has not started to date (as of 2019). Next to the Brügglifeld stadium, also on Suhrer Boden, there is a covered artificial ice rink . A curling hall is attached to this ice rink, in which several B group games of the 1976 Ice Hockey World Championship were played .

Roggenhausen Wildlife Park

In 1964 and 2007, the Swiss Wrestling and Alpine Festival took place in Schachen . The latter edition in particular set new standards, as a temporary arena was built especially for this purpose, with space for 47,000 spectators. The Telliring was the venue for the first Federal Gymnastics Festival in 1832 . Further gymnastics festivals followed in 1843, 1857, 1882, 1932, 1972 and 2019. The Swiss Gymnastics Federation has its headquarters in the city.

The most popular sports club by far is FC Aarau . It was founded in 1902 and plays in the second highest league in Switzerland ( Challenge League ). So far, FC Aarau has been Swiss champion three times (1912, 1914, 1993) and one cup winner (1985). Another well-known club is the HSC Suhr Aarau in the National League A of the Swiss Handball League . The predecessor of this handball club , TV Suhr, won the Swiss championship in 1999 and 2000. EHC Aarau plays in the 1st league , the highest amateur ice hockey class in the country.

The extensive forests around Aarau are popular local recreation areas. The year-round Roggenhausen Wildlife Park is located three kilometers southwest of the city center . The non-profit foundation “Aarau eusi gsund Stadt” (Aarau our healthy city) promoted health and prevention at the local and regional level, promoting above all sporting activities. In 2016 the city took over its duties. In 1990 the Aarau Astronomical Association set up a planetary path . It is six kilometers long, leads from the Echolinde through the forest to Kölliken and represents the solar system on a "planetary scale" of 1: 1 billion.


Monument to Heinrich Zschokke

Aarau is the birthplace and place of residence of numerous well-known personalities. The most famous people in the world who were born in Aarau are the nutritionist Max Bircher-Benner , the inventor of Birchermüesli, and Hans Herzog , General of the Swiss Army. The best-known residents are Nobel Prize winner Albert Einstein (who attended the canton school here), Federal Councilor Friedrich Frey-Herosé and the writer Heinrich Zschokke .


  • Heinrich Boos : Document book of the city of Aarau. With a historical introduction, register and glossary, as well as a historical map. Sauerlander, Aarau 1880.
  • Alfred Lüthi: Aarau. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
  • Alfred Lüthi, Georg Boner, Margareta Edlin, Martin Pestalozzi: History of the city of Aarau . Verlag Sauerländer, Aarau 1978, ISBN 3-7941-1445-0 .
  • Irma Noseda , Christoph Schläppi: Aarau city architecture - urban development in ten steps 1240–2001 . AT-Verlag, Aarau 2001, ISBN 3-85502-700-5 .
  • Michael Stettler : The art monuments of the canton of Aargau. Volume I: The districts of Aarau, Kulm, Zofingen . Ed .: Society for Swiss Art History. Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 1948. DNB 366495623

Web links

Wiktionary: Aarau  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Aarau  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Aarau  - travel guide
Wikisource: Aarau  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Cantonal population statistics 2019. Department of Finance and Resources, Statistics Aargau, March 30, 2020, accessed on April 2, 2019 .
  2. Cantonal population statistics 2019. Department of Finance and Resources, Statistics Aargau, March 30, 2020, accessed on April 2, 2019 .
  3. a b Lexicon of Swiss municipality names . Edited by the Center de Dialectologie at the University of Neuchâtel under the direction of Andres Kristol. Frauenfeld / Lausanne 2005, ISBN 3-7193-1308-5 , p. 73.
  4. ^ Merja Hoppe: The canton of Aargau, structure and perspectives. Neue Aargauer Bank, July 25, 2008, accessed December 31, 2009 .
  5. Walther Merz: The Rore tower in Aarau. Basler Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Altertumskunde, 1902, accessed on May 26, 2020 .
  6. a b c National map of Switzerland , sheet 1089, Swisstopo .
  7. ^ Bruno Schelbert: Thanks to Staffeleggstrasse - floodplain areas in the Rohrer Schachen. (PDF, 686 KB) In: Environment Aargau. Construction, Transport and Environment Department of the Canton of Aargau, Landscape and Waters Department, May 2010, accessed on August 2, 2011 .
  8. Standard area statistics - municipalities according to 4 main areas. Federal Statistical Office , November 26, 2018, accessed on May 19, 2019 .
  9. Climate table. In: meteoschweiz.admin.ch. meteoschweiz, accessed on April 12, 2018 .
  10. ^ Lüthi et al .: History of the City of Aarau. Pp. 23-24.
  11. ^ Lüthi et al .: History of the City of Aarau. P. 28.
  12. ^ Lüthi et al .: History of the City of Aarau. Pp. 32-37.
  13. ^ Martin Hartmann, Hans Weber: The Romans in Aargau . Verlag Sauerländer, Aarau 1985, ISBN 3-7941-2539-8 , p. 161 .
  14. ^ Lüthi et al .: History of the City of Aarau. Pp. 40-41.
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This article was added to the list of excellent articles on December 6, 2004 in this version .