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Explore Germany: Neuchâtel
Neuchâtel is the capital of the Swiss canton of Neuchâtel on Lake Neuchâtel.
The city has as of December 2007 approximately 32,600 inhabitants (80,000 in the metropolitan area), by and large French-speaking, although the city is sometimes referred to historically by the German name About this sound Neuenburg, which has the same meaning, since it originally belonged to the Holy Roman Empire and later Prussia ruled the area until 1848.
Neuchâtel is a pilot of the Council of Europe and the European Commission Intercultural cities programme.
Neuchâtel has an area, as of 2009, of 18.1 square kilometers (7.0 sq mi). Of this area, 1.84 km2 (0.71 sq mi) or 10.2% is used for agricultural purposes, while 9.74 km2 (3.76 sq mi) or 53.8% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 6.42 km2 (2.48 sq mi) or 35.5% is settled (buildings or roads), 0.03 km2 (7.4 acres) or 0.2% is either rivers or lakes and 0.02 km2 (4.9 acres) or 0.1% is unproductive land.
Of the built up area, industrial buildings made up 2.2% of the total area while housing and buildings made up 18.0% and transportation infrastructure made up 10.1%. while parks, green belts and sports fields made up 4.3%. Out of the forested land, 51.8% of the total land area is heavily forested and 2.0% is covered with orchards or small clusters of trees. Of the agricultural land, 1.4% is used for growing crops and 8.0% is pastures. All the water in the municipality is in lakes.
The city is located on the northwestern shore of the Lake of Neuchâtel (lac de Neuchâtel in French and Neuenburgersee in German), a few kilometers east of Peseux and west of Saint-Blaise. Above Neuchâtel, roads and train tracks rise steeply into the folds and ridges of the Jura range – known within the canton as the Montagnes Neuchâteloises. Like the continuation of the mountains on either side, this is wild and hilly country, not exactly mountainous compared with the high Alps further south but still characterized by remote, windswept settlements and deep, rugged valleys. It is also the heartland of the celebrated Swiss watchmaking industry, centered on the once-famous towns of La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle, which both rely heavily on their horological past to draw in visitors. The River Doubs marks the border with France, set down in a gorge and forming along its path an impressive waterfall, the Saut du Doubs, and lake, the Lac des Brenets.
[ source: wikipedia ]
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