Lake Of Neuchatel - Encyclopedia




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LAKE OF. NEUCHATEL This lake, in W. Switzerland, is with the neighbouring lakes of Bienne and Morat (both connected with it by canals), the modern representative of the large body of water which at one time seems to have filled the whole of the lower valley of the Aar. It is now the most considerable sheet of water which is wholly within Switzerland (since parts of those of Geneva and Constance belong to foreign countries), though it does not belong entirely to any one Canton - of its total area of 922 sq. m., 362 sq. m. are in the Canton of Neuchatel and rather over 33 sq. m. in that of Vaud, while Fribourg claims 204 sq. m. and Berne 2 sq. m. It is about 232 m. in length, varies from 32 to 5 m. in width, and has a maximum depth of 502 ft., while its surface is 1427 ft. above sea-level. It is mainly formed by the Thiele or Zihl river, which enters it at its southwestern end and issues from it at its north-eastern extremity, but it also receives, near its north-west end, the Areuse (flowing through the Val de Travers) and the Seyon (which traverses the Val de Ruz), as well as, near its north-east end, the Broye (that flows through a canal from the Lake of Morat). Successive drainages have brought to light the remains of many lake dwellings, of which there is a good collection in the natural history museum at Neuchatel. The scenery of the lake, though pleasing, cannot compare with that of the other Swiss lakes, despite the fact that from it the giants of both the Mont Blanc and Bernese Oberland ranges are clearly seen. The first steamer was placed on the lake in 1827. On the south-eastern shore the picturesque and historical little town of Estavayer is the chief place. At the south-western extremity of the lake is Yverdon (the Eburodunum of the Romans and the residence of the educationalist Pestalozzi, 1806-1825). Far more populated is the northwestern shore, where, from S.W. to N.E., we find Grandson (famous for the battle of 1476 wherein Charles the Bold, duke of Burgundy, was defeated by the Swiss), Cortaillod (producing excellent sparkling wine), Serrieres (with the famous manufactories of Suchard chocolate) and Neuchatel itself. On the north shore is La Tene, famous for the remarkable relics of the Iron Age that have been discovered there. (W. A. B. C.)

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