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Explore Germany: Schaffhausen (Canton)

Schaffhausen (Canton)

Schaffhausen is a city in northern Switzerland and the capital of the canton of the same name; it has an estimated population of 34,587 as of December 2008.

The old portion of the city has many fine Renaissance era buildings decorated with exterior frescos and sculpture, as well as the impressive old canton fortress, the Munot. A train runs out of town to the nearby Rhine Falls in Neuhausen am Rheinfall, Europe's largest waterfall, a tourist attraction.

Origin of the name

The town is first mentioned in 1045 as Villa Scafhusun. There are at least two theories on the origin of this name. One is related to a mention of a "ford" across the Rhine River that first occurs in 1050. This "ford" may actually refer to a scapha or skiff which was used to disembark goods coming from Constance to move them around the Rhine Falls. The name Scafhusun then arose from the scapha used at that point. Another theory is that Scafhusun comes from Schaf (a sheep), as a ram (now a sheep) formed the ancient arms of the town, derived from those of its founders, the counts of Nellenburg.

Coat of arms

The blazon of the municipal coat of arms is Or on a Base Vert issuant from sinister a Semi Castle Argent with tower with entrance from which is issuing a Semi Ram Sable. The canting coat of arms refers to the second interpretation of the name, sheep-house.[ source: wikipedia ]

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