THUN (Fr. Thoune), a picturesque little town in the Swiss canton of Bern, built on the banks of the Aar, just as it issues from the Lake of Thun, and by rail 19 m. S.E. of Bern, or 172 m. N.W. of Interlaken. It is the capital of the Bernese Oberland, the snowy peaks of which are well seen from it. It has 6030 inhabitants, mostly German-speaking and Protestants. The 18th-century parish church and the 15th-century castle rise in a striking fashion above the town, in the chief street of which are arcades (locally called Lauben) as in Bern. There is a museum in the tower of the castle, while in and near the town (in the Heimberg valley) are several potteries of local ware. From its local lords it passed by 1127 to the house of Zahringen, and on its extinction (1218) to the counts of Kyburg. The heiress of that family brought Thun (and Burgdorf) in 1273 to the cadet or Laufenburg line of the Habsburg family, her mother having (1264) granted the town a charter of liberties that confirmed an earlier grant of 1256. In 1375 the town was mortgaged to Bern, to which it was sold outright in 1384. From 1798 to 1802 Thun was the capital of the canton Oberland of the Helvetic Republic. (W. A. B. C.)
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