Or Genève, as it's called in French - which is the official language in the Genève canton of Switzerland is located at the very outskirts of Switzerland (75% of the canton's borderlines are leading to France - not Switzerland). A little more than 180.000 people live here in what is probably the smallest metropole of the World. Of these, an incredible 43% are foreign, which might also make Geneva one of the most intercultural (important) cities of the world. It's not uncommon to see Jews, Muslims (you know the women totally covered in clothes so that only their eyes can be seen), Africans (dressed up as something from coming to America and nuns in the same bus (try that in the Middle East and I guess the noise can be heard all the way to the moon - (which is of course impossible due to the vacuum in outer space (and I do apologize my extensive use of nested brackets))). The presence of all these strange people is mainly due to the fauna of international organizations that find the city to be a convenient place to have the headquarters. Hence - a lot of people with greater or lesser diplomatic immunity surf the city.

In Geneva everything is expensive, except for cars, petrol and electronics. The former two mainly due to the fact that Geneva is one of the cities in the world having the greatest number of cars per capita.

Should you ever consider stopping by, don't miss out strolling down rue du Marché, going to Bains de Pâquis, climbing the small alleys of the old town, seeing Jet d'Eau and taking a small trip to places like Alhambar, Rêve d'O and Macumba.

Geneva is also the name of sans-serif font widely used in the Mac OS interface. It is similar in style to the fonts arial and helvetica, and these three are often used as alternate fonts in web design. Windows does not have Geneva installed by default, but Arial is a fairly close match. Thus, you can be pretty confident of consistency across these two platforms by specifying the typeface as "geneva, arial, helvetica"

Hailing from Aberdeen, Scotland, Geneva is a five-piece rock band that have released two albums to date.

They are fronted by singer Andrew Montgomery, whose angelic voice sets the band apart from other British fare.

They have toured and performed with The Catherine Wheel, and despite stirring up comparisons to The Smiths and Suede, have failed to elicit a great deal of hype.

They have released the following albums since their inception in 1992:

Further (1997)
Weather Underground (1999)
Geneva was the city where John Calvin first implemented his protestant reforms and was the template for all Calvinist reformers. It had been subject to the Bishop of Geneva but by 15th century the Dukes of Savoy had secured a hold over the Bishopric. As a whole it was part of the Swiss Confederation which was by name part of the Holy Roman Empire.

Geneva was a reformed city before Calvin arrived and so he was introducing the second wave of reform. This meant he was able to instigate more wide ranging social reforms as he did not have to gain original acceptance of a completely new faith as Luther had to do in Germany.

Geneva's early reformation:

1511 - The Bishop/Duke sought to reduce the liberties of Geneva.

1525-26 - Geneva obtained friendship and support from the cantons of Berne and Fribourg. This put pressure on the Bishop/Duke alliance.

1527 - The Bishop fled the city.

1532 - In January the first protestant preaching is performed in Geneva under the sponsorship of the canton of Berne.

1533 - May-July there are riots. The bishop loses political control due to both religious and political upheaval.

1534 - The Bishopric of Geneva is declared vacant. In March reformers are granted use of city churches.

1536 - Savoy withdraws its involvement from Geneva. By this date Geneva had effectively won its freedom. The city council forbade priests from celebrating the mass and Calvin and Farel were both now involved in introducing the second wave of Protestantism to Geneva.

Geneva was then controlled by four syndics who were elected every year by a general assembly of males in Geneva. Executive power rested with the small council know as 'Messiers de Geneve'.

  • It consisted of 24 men led by the four syndics
  • Included a treasurer and two secretaries
  • Met three times each week
  • Conducted foreign affairs
  • Ran finances and the mint
  • Supervised city regulations
  • Supervised death sentences
  • Dispensed Justice in civil and criminal cases
There were two legislative bodies emanating from the small council. The Council of 200 met once a month. It passed laws, granted pardons and elected the 25 members of the small council. The General Council consisted of all male citizens in Geneva. They met twice a year. In November they fixed wine prices and elected judges. In January they elected the four syndics.

Geneva had a large fluctuating refugee population. These were mostly religious refugees fleeing from France and Italy. This meant that there was much support for new religious ideas. However many Genevans resented the power of the large refugee contingent and this is partly what led to Calvin's expulsion in 1538.

Geneva, Switzerland is interesting. I flew back to England from there yesterday, and was surprised at just how boring England is. When I got out of the plane at the airport in Geneva, the first thing that hit me was the heat, although I am reliably informed that it is freezing in the winter, the temperature was in fact 35 degrees Celsius, which is hot, (well, it was to me, I live in England remember).

The first thing to do when you arrive in Geneva is to get to your hotel or hostel, or in my case, flat. No matter how tempting it may be, do not rent a car unless you intend to travel around Switzerland and France a lot. If you are in Geneva, the public transport is the best way to get around. To get to your hotel, first get two maps, one, a map that shows the location of your residence, and two, a bus map. Work out where the nearest stop to your accommodation is (it will not be more than 200 yards) and make a note of the name, (my stop was Servette), you will be using it a lot. Now look for Cornavin, all busses go through here and so it’s your best bet for a first stop. Now, go outside and buy your bus ticket. If you plan to move a round a lot buy an all day pass for two zones (6SFr which is around £3 or $4) if not buy a half hour pass for two zones. Now get on the bus.

The public transport system in Geneva is incredibly efficient. Every few hundred yards there is a bus stop, or tram station. At each of these there is a ticket machine, the tickets are very cheap, unlike the rest of Geneva, and you can buy them to suit your needs. Geneva is divided into two transport zones, with several zones outside it. Therefore you can buy tickets for one, two or all, zones. You can also buy tickets by time, half an hour, an hour, two hours and all day.

Tickets are checked only very occasionally, (in one week of staying there, mine were never checked), but if you are caught you are fined sixty Swiss francs, and humiliated in front of everyone of the bus. This means everyone buys a ticket, and the system works perfectly. Be warned, busses and trams will not wait more than a few seconds for you, and even though there is a bus almost every five minutes to anywhere, it’s best not to be caught unawares. Once on the busses, (of which some are articulated) you cans it or stand wherever you like, but the busses accelerate very fast and so if you stand, be sure to hold on.

Once you arrive at your destination, unpack, take a shower, relax etc. Then go out. Find a supermarket and buy some basic food. Eating out in Geneva is expensive and is not recommended for day-to-day sustenance. If your hotel provides meals with your room, lucky you. Otherwise, buy enough food to keep you going. If you do decide to eat out, however, there are literally café’s everywhere, serving anything from sushi to fries (there are six McDonalds in Geneva).

Beryt’s, (or “Bert’s with a Y,” as we called it), was one place where I tended to eat, since it is fairly cheap. It is a sort of fast food place with a slightly less greasy feeling, they generally have sport or cartoons on too, and they serve a delicious feta salad.

The other place, which you must try, is the Manori. This restaurant is basically a huge hall, with about seven tables piled high with every form of food imaginable. There is one table full of different salads, another for pasta, another where they prepare a custom pizza for you, another where they prepare a custom omelette for you, one of ice cream, one of fruit and one stir fry. All you do is select a plate size, small medium or large and pile it as high as you can. If you are good with architecture, you can get a very good, very cheap meal out of it, if you’re not so good, odds are you will have to pay for a slightly bigger plate. Either way, the food is excellent.

There is lots to do in Geneva, and there are plenty of web sites documenting it, I recommend the Geneva guide, (www.geneva-guide.ch), which recommends many places to visit, and what to do when you see them. However I must touch on a few un-missable sites.

The first is the fountain, take a bus down to the lake, or walk from Cornavin, and wander around the right hand side. Around half a kilometre around, you will come to a causeway, or jetty-like structure about a meter to a metre and a half wide, and made of stone. If the wind is under 8mph, and you look across this jetty, you will see the fountain. It is forty metres high, and quite spectacular. Now, walk along the jetty, you will feel spray, and, depending on which way the wind is blowing, you might be able to stay reasonably dry. However, the wind can change suddenly, and it is not uncommon for unsuspecting tourist to suddenly be caught in a deluge of water. Of course, if it’s a hot day, and you aren’t wearing anything expensive, this might be welcome.

Another thing to do is take a boat trip out on the lake. It costs between ten and forty Swiss francs, depending on what boat you go on, and is quite interesting. Of course, you could always rent your own boat or peddleo. (if you get a peddleo, try to get one with a slide on the back, it’s more fun like that, and, on a hot day, they lake is heavenly.

For the Christians amongst us, I recommend the Church of the Living Saviour, which is a Congregationalist church near Servette. It is as multinational as the rest of the city, and is run by a very enthusiastic pastor named Mike, who will, if you ask him, tell you some quite incredible stories. The choir is very happy-clappy, and they encourage everyone to dance and sing and “get loose.” The reason I mention it is not because I’m at all religious, (too cynical really), but because it was a member of the church that gave me a place to stay when my hostel was double booked. (Her name is Vince and she plays the guitar, so, say hi if you see her. She also has a very sarcastic cat named Keelah.)

If you get a chance, take a bus up to the Palaix De Nations, which is the headquarters for the United Nations in Geneva. Guided tours are given if you ask, and it really is worth seeing. Many of the walls are covered with beautiful works of art, and the buildings themselves are impressive. There is also the Palaix Wilson, which is the Head Quarters for the United Nations Human Rights Committee, and hosts the Working groups on contemporary forms of slavery, torture, unlawful detention, and women’s rights. However, I am not sure whether or not it is open to the general public.

Finally, you must take a bus to the French border and ride up the mountains in a cable car. You are around a kilometre above sea level, and your ears will pop on the way up and down, but the views are spectacular. You can also take paragliding lessons, or pay to go tandem. It is quite exhilarating to be floating so high off a steep mountain, scary though. There is also the mandatory, ridiculously expensive, restaurant at the top, but it is built in such a way, that when you look out of the window, you feel as if you are floating in mid air.

Despite what other sources say, Geneva does have a nightlife, the pubs and clubs stay open until five in the morning on normal days. If you don’t speak much French, or have trouble with it when drunk, Mr Pickwicks is an English pub-like-bar, run by some Australian men. The beer is expensive (twice as much as in the UK) but the wine is cheap. (This may be because one of our party snogged the barman, we can’t be sure.) As for clubs, the best one is reportedly Shaker’s, but, having never been there, I can’t tell you anything more about it. The club I went to’s name I never knew. It cost twenty Swiss francs to get in, including one free drink. A little advice is to make your drink last. I paid twenty-three Swiss francs for a Jack Daniels and Coke!

As for gift shops, there are three kinds, the Toblerones, the watches, and the Swiss Army Knives. These may be scattered with cuckoo clocks and cows. The Toblerones come in sizes ranging from 50g to 4.5kg, I was going to buy a 4.5kg one, but that would have taken my hand luggage over the edge. Watches are popular, if expensive. There is also the entire range of knives available, and suitable for any conceivable purpose. However, as with everything else, these are very expensive.

Geneva is situated on Lake Geneva, and is surrounded by French Mountain Ranges. On a clear day you can see Mount Blanc, the highest peak in western Europe. The mountains are stunning, and it’s quite an odd feeling to look across the shining, blue lake at their snowy peaks, that would look unrealistic on a postcard. Surroundings-wise, Geneva is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

As a town or city, Geneva is impressive. Although not as built up as the big American metropolises, almost no building in Geneva is below four stories. The architecture ranges from old medieval buildings, with beautiful gothic architecture, to the bland, sixties style, architecture with square, boring, high-rise blocks, to ornate structures decorated with modern looking sculptures. There is also the gold-domed orthodox Russian church, which is truly stunning.

Walking around, the lack of litter on the streets is quite amazing since people there are generally law abiding (aside from a riot or two), but there is a lot of Anti Bush/War/Establishment/People/Politics/Globalisation/Everything graffiti, in a variety in of languages and scripts (Arabic graffiti is impressive).

The people in Geneva are friendly, not just polite, forced, English-style friendly, but genuine, nice, kind, helpful, friendly. The number of nationalities is astounding, it is a common sight to see people walking down the street wearing Indian, or African clothes, and there are any numbers of languages spoken, although French is dominant. It is impossible to describe just how multi-national Geneva is, but the statistics show that only 40% of the people there are in fact Swiss. This is backed up by the huge numbers of hotels.

Property is expensive in Geneva, (a small house costs in the range of one to five million Swiss francs,) and so most people live in rented apartments. The rent is usually about five hundred to two thousand Swiss francs a month, but the apartments are generally nice enough, although they do have very little storage space, and parking is extra. If you want to just stay in a hotel, you had better be prepared to pay anything from one hundred Swiss francs a night to two thousand.

If you do go to Geneva, and if you get a chance, you should. Bring plenty of money, or plenty of food. There is a lot to see and do, but it does tend to lighten your wallet. This is a truly multicultural city, with one hell of a lot of charm. (At least, I think so).

Ge*ne"va (?), n.

The chief city of Switzerland.

Geneva Bible, a translation of the Bible into English, made and published by English refugees in Geneva (Geneva, 1560; London, 1576). It was the first English Bible printed in Roman type instead of the ancient black letter, the first which recognized the division into verses, and the first which ommited the Apocrypha. In form it was a small quarto, and soon superseded the large folio of Cranmer's translation. Called also Genevan Bible. -- Geneva convention Mil., an agreement made by representatives of the great continental powers at Geneva and signed in 1864, establishing new and more humane regulation regarding the treatment of the sick and wounded and the status of those who minister to them in war. Ambulances and military hospitals are made neutral, and this condition affects physicians, chaplains, nurses, and the ambulance corps. Great Britain signed the convention in 1865. -- Geneva cross Mil., a red Greek cross on a white ground; -- the flag and badge adopted in the Geneva convention.


© Webster 1913.

Ge*ne"va (?), n. [F. genievre juniper, juniper berry, gin, OF. geneivre juniper, fr. L. juniperus the juniper tree: cf. D. jenever, fr. F. genievre. See Juniper, and cf. Gin a liquor.]

A strongly alcoholic liquor, flavores with juniper berries; -- made in Holland; Holland gin; Hollands.


© Webster 1913.

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