At the outflow of Lake Zurich, the first settlers settled down 7,000 years ago. In the year around 57/58 B.C., the Romans came to Zurich and founded the customs station Turicum. This customs station it today the well-known Lindenhof.
Charlemagne is said to have rediscovered the graves of the Zurich city patrons Felix and Regula in the 8th century, when his horse suddenly kneeled down on its journey to pay tribute to the graves of the saints. Thereupon the church Grossmuenster was founded in honour of the saints.
King Ludwig the German, the grandson of Charlemagne, donated a convent to his daughter Hildegard in 853 A.D. - the Fraumuenster Monastery was founded.
The new convent was the home for many princesses from all over Europe in the 11th and 12th centuries. At that time Zurich became more and more an important market place with trade connections from northern Italy to Holland.
In 1351, 60 years after the founding of the Swiss Confederation, Zurich became the sixth canton to become part of the confederation of states.
In the 16th century Huldrych Zwingli, priest at Grossmuenster, spread the Reformation in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Many religious refugees came to Zurich after the Reformation. As a result the city developed into a commercial centre.
In the course of industrialization in the late 18th and 19th centuries Zurich developed from the artisan city to the centre of the machine industry. Today restaurants, bars, galleries and shops can be found in the former factory halls.