Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Thalwil is a village in the Horgen district, near Zürich, Switzerland. It has a population of about 16 000 (2003) and is located on the Zimmerberg ridge between the western shore of Lake Zurich and the Sihl river. Thalwil borders on the communes of Rüschlikon , Langnau am Albis, Oberrieden , Horgen and (across the lake) Erlenbach. The Gemeindewappen (communal flag) consists of two diagonally crossed black bulrushes with green stems and leaves on a white background.
The oldest recorded name Talwile (1030) is derived from Tellewilare, Tello's Farm, and indicates the early medieval origins of Thalwil as an Alemannic farmstead. Only a few graves remain from this period.
The parish of Thalwil originally comprised four Wachten (hamlets):
- Ludretikon , the oldest hamlet (mentioned in 915), bordering Rüschlikon
- Oberdorf (Upper Village), the area around the church
- Unterdorf (Lower Village), the area roughly south of the railway station
- Langnau, which separated from Thalwil around 1713
In medieval times, the economy consisted mainly of farms, vineyards as well as a small amount of fishing, crafts and shipping (on the lake). This estate was once owned by the Dukes of Habsburg and held by the Barons of Eschenbach . The Abbeys of Muri and Wettingen also had significant interests and owned 12 and 3 farms respectively.
Thalwil also boasts the oldest wood corporation in the Canton of Zurich, the Bannegg-Waldung. It was first mentioned in 1483, when Muri Abbey granted it to the twelve beneficiaries of the Abbey farms in Thalwil. Today the corporation is owned by 16 members as well as by the Thalwil Gemeinde.
Churches in Thalwil
Thalwil is one of the oldest parishes on the shores of Lake Zurich. It also boasts one of the most spectacular church locations: the Platte with its spectacular views of the lake and its surroundings from Zurich to the Alps.
The earliest recorded church was dedicated to St Martin in 1159. In medieval times it was a dependency of Wettingen Abbey. Although it was frequently hit by lightening and also looted and set on fire during the War of Zurich (Alter Zürichkrieg), the original building survived for over six hundred years.
In 1845 the small and rather dilapidated chapel was demolished and replaced by a much larger church designed by Ferdinand Stadler . A fire set off during repairs on the tower burnt down the new church almost 100 years later (1943) but the building was soon completely restored and has survived to this day.
In the late 1830s the lakeside road (Seestrasse) was opened. It soon attracted large silk, cotton and other textile factories to the former farming village, some run by local families such as Schwarzenbach, Schmid, and Kölliker. This growth was boosted by the new railway lines from Zurich to Pfäffikon (1875) and Zug (1897). Industrialisation brought new workers into the former farming villaged and increased the population from 1 318 (in 1833) to 6 791 (in 1900).
Modern-day Thalwil Today this industrial past has all but vanished. The economy of Thalwil is mainly supported by a variety of small and medium-sized businesses, many located in the Böhni commercial estate opened in 1971. The most prominent of these is Unisys Switzerland, which is also the largest employer in Thalwil (over 500 jobs). There is also a wide range of shops, mainly located around the Gotthardstrasse.
The main source of Thalwil's current prosperity lies in the large number of commuters (ca 7 000) who live here but work in the economic centres of Greater Zurich. Today Thalwil has mostly left its farming and industrial past behind and become a prime location for commuter living with its excellent transportation links, low tax rate and high quality of life.
Thalwil is located along the A3 motorway from Zurich to Chur as well as on the main railway lines from Zurich to Chur, Lucerne and Italy. In the summer there are regular boats to Zurich as well as along the lake to Rapperswil. Inside Thalwil an excellent bus service is provided by the Zimmerbergbus .
- Church with magnificent views over the lake
- Pfisterhaus with the village museum
- Etzliberg viewing point and old half-timbered houses
- Villa Diana, the 19th-century neobaroque residence of factory owner Julius Schwarzenbach
Over 30 restaurants can be found in Thalwil, offering a wide range of specialities from traditional Swiss cuisine to Turkish, Indian and even Chinese food. There is also an excellent local bakery, the Kölli Beck, which was established over 100 years ago and is still run by the old Thalwil Kölliker family.
Facts and figures
- Area: 5.53 km²
- Inhabitants: 16 037 (31.12.2003)
- Tax rate (excl. church tax): 82% (2005)
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