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Lake Zurich

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Subject: Zürich, Seedamm, Rapperswil, Lützelau, Bollingen
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Lake Zurich

Lake Zürich
Lake Zürich, Pfannenstiel and Sihl Valley, as seen from nearby Felsenegg (April 2010)
Primary inflows Linth (Linthkanal)
Primary outflows Limmat
Catchment area 1,829 km2 (706 sq mi)
Basin countries Switzerland
Max. length 40 kilometres (25 miles)
Max. width 3 kilometres (2 miles)
Surface area 88.66 square kilometres (34.23 square miles)
Average depth 49 metres (161 feet)
Max. depth 143 metres (469 feet)
Water volume 3.9 km3 (0.94 cu mi)
Residence time 440 days
Surface elevation 406 m (1,332 ft)
Frozen 1929, 1962/1963 (last)
Islands Lützelau, Ufenau
Sections/sub-basins Obersee
Settlements see list

Lake Zürich (Swiss German/Alemannic: Zürisee; German: Zürichsee)[1] is a lake in Switzerland, extending southeast of the city of Zürich. Depending on the context, Lake Zürich or Zürichsee can be used to describe the lake as a whole, or just that part of the lake downstream of the Seedamm at Rapperswil, whilst the part upstream of Rapperswil may be called the Obersee or Upper Lake.


Lake Zürich is formed by the Linth river, which rises in the glaciers of the Glarus Alps and was diverted by the Escher canal (completed in 1811) into Lake Walen from where its waters are carried to the east end of Lake Zürich by means of the Linth canal (completed in 1816). The waters of the Lake of Zürich flow out of the lake at its north-west end, passing through the city of Zürich; however, the outflow is then called the Limmat. The culminating point of the lake's drainage basin is the Tödi at 3,614 metres above sea level.[2]

No streams of importance flow into the lake besides the Linth. The Horgen.

To the east – separated by Zürichberg-Adlisberg, Forch and Pfannenstiel – are two minor lakes: Greifensee (Lake Greifen) and Pfäffikersee (Lake Pfäffikon). Zimmerberg and the Etzel regions lie to the west.

Administratively, Lake Zürich is split between the cantons of Zürich, St. Gallen and Schwyz. The lower lake, to the west of the Seedamm, is largely in the canton of Zürich, whilst the upper lake is shared between the cantons of St. Gallen and Schwyz.


The lake was frozen in the following years

  • 1223, 1259, 1262
  • 1407, 1491
  • 1514, 1517, 1573
  • 1600, 1660, 1684, 1695
  • 1709, 1716, 1718, 1740, 1755, 1763, 1789
  • 1830, 1880, 1891, 1895
  • 1929, 1963

Population and transportation

The three population and transportation centres are Zürich, Pfäffikon SZ and Rapperswil.

Besides Bürkliplatz in Zürich and the Seedamm, there are no bridges across the lake.

The Meilen.

Towns on the lake

List of localities at Lake Zürich
Left shore ¹ Right shore
Notes: ¹ Left shore from the entry of the Linth River, i.e.

the south shore, which gradually becomes the west shore.
Cantons: SZ, SG, ZH.

Zürich, at the north-western end of the lake, is the largest city on Lake Zürich.

On the west shore (which gradually becomes the south shore) are Wädenswil, Richterswil, Pfäffikon, and Lachen.

On the opposite shore are Küsnacht, Meilen, Stäfa, and Rapperswil-Jona with the medieval town of Rapperswil, whose castle is home to the Polish museum. Schmerikon is close to the east end of the lake, and a little further east is the larger town of Uznach.

Water quality

Lake Zürich's water is very clean and reaches, during summer, temperatures well beyond 20 °C (68 °F). Swimming in the public baths and beaches is very popular. Historically, the best weather for swimming has been late August, with August 28th typically having the nicest weather at around 17:30h. The lake's water is purified and fed into Zürich's water system; it is potable.


Zürichsee view from Zürich to the Alps.

Prehistoric pile dwellings around Zürichsee

The Prehistoric pile dwellings around Zürichsee comprises 11 of total 56 Prehistoric pile dwellings around the Alps in Switzerland, that are located around Zürichsee in the cantons of Schwyz, St. Gallen and Zürich.[3][4]

See also


  1. ^ Swiss Federal Office of Topography, swisstopo (16 January 2014). "National Map 1:50 000". Zürichsee (Map). 1:50 000. "National Map 1:50'000, 78 sheets and 25 composites" (2011 ed.). Bern, Switzerland. Section "5011 Zürichsee - Zug". ISBN . Retrieved 2014-12-01.
  2. ^ Swiss Federal Office of Topography, swisstopo (16 January 2014). "National Map 1:25 000". Tödi, Lake Zurich's culmination point (Map). 1:25 000. "National Map 1:25'000, 247 sheets and 17 composites" (2009 ed.). Bern, Switzerland. Section "1193 Tödi". ISBN . Retrieved 2014-12-01.
  3. ^ "Prehistoric Pile Dwellings in Switzerland". Swiss Coordination Group UNESCO Palafittes ( Retrieved 2014-12-07. 
  4. ^ "World Heritage". Retrieved 2014-12-07. 

External links

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

  • Zürichsee Schifffahrtsgesellschaft—Boat schedules, mainly non-English.
  • Zürichsee-Fähre Horgen-Meilen—Ferry schedules, in German.
  • Waterlevels Lake Zürich at Zürich
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