For an extended period of time, the Aare river was the primary transport route for people, livestock and goods, and the Matte district, located directly on the riverbank, was a hub for all sorts of businesspeople. Home to butchers, tanners and hangmen from all over the world, it was considered a rather shabby working-class neighbourhood. In order to differentiate themselves from the upper class, the district’s inhabitants developed their own language, which is still spoken by some today: Matten-Berndeutsch (a mixture of French, Hebrew, German and other languages).
However, with the arrival of the railway, shipping on the Aare gradually disappeared, sadly impoverishing "die Matte" (which is what Bern locals affectionately call the district). Regular flooding was also part of everyday Matte life for a long time. The overflowing water deposited heaps of gravel and sand in the ground floors of the houses. Since the residents then adopted the habit of shovelling out the debris and piling it in the street, the pavements became higher and higher. Even today, you will notice that the arcades above the pavements are half a metre lower here than elsewhere in the city.
Fortunately, the district was finally rediscovered and revitalised in the middle of the 20th century, and this popular residential area with its architecture offices, advertising agencies, studios, flower shops and boutiques has now become an integral part of Bern.
This city tour will provide you with more fascinating facts and entertaining anecdotes.
Available dates All year Meeting point Münster (main entrance of Bern Minster) Length of tour 90 minutes Price CHF 300.00 per group
The price for riding the Mattelift elevator (CHF 1.20 per person) is not included
Languages German, French, English Number of participants Maximum 20 people per group