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By the Numbers in Solothurn

By Linda Tancs

Eleven is a ubiquitous (and some might say auspicious) number in the Swiss town of Solothurn. You’ll count it everywhere. There are 11 museums. Eleven fountains. Eleven chapels. Eleven churches. When the landmark cathedral of St. Ursus was under construction in 1762, its builder built upon the number theme (no pun intended) by including 11 bells in the tower, 11 altars, an outer staircase with 11 steps and an organ with a grand sum of pipes divisible by 11. And the cathedral took 11 years to build. Of course it did. Even the local beer is named “eleven” (Öufi, in the local dialect). As if that weren’t enough of a numbers game, there’s a clock on the wall of a bank with an 11-hour dial and the number 12 missing. Its 11 cogs churn 11 bells with the aid of a metal harlequin to chime out the local song, Solothurner Lied, at various times during the day. A themed tour about the number 11 can be booked with Region Solothurn Tourismus.


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