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Lake Zurich
Coordinates 47°15′N 8°41′E / 47.25°N 8.683°E / 47.25; 8.683Coordinates: 47°15′N 8°41′E / 47.25°N 8.683°E / 47.25; 8.683
Primary inflows Linth (Linthkanal)
Primary outflows Limmat
Catchment area 1,829 km²
Basin countries Switzerland
Max. length 40 km (25 mi)
Max. width 3 km (1.9 mi)
Surface area 88.66 km² (34.4 mi²)
Average depth 49 m
Max. depth 143 m (469 ft)
Water volume 3.9 km³
Residence time 440 days
Surface elevation 406 m (1,342 ft)
Frozen 1929, 1962/1963 (last)
Islands Lützelau, Ufenau
Sections/sub-basins Obersee
Settlements see list

Lake Zurich (Swiss German/Alemannic: Zürisee; German: Zürichsee) is a lake in Switzerland, extending southeast of the town of Zürich. It is also known as Lake Zürich and Lake of Zürich. It lies approximately at co-ordinates 47°15′N 8°41′E / 47.25°N 8.683°E / 47.25; 8.683.

Zürichsee is strictly the name of the part of the lake downstream of the dam at Rapperswil, mostly located within the canton of Zürich. The part upstream of the Rapperswil dam is called Obersee, and is shared between the cantons of St. Gallen and Schwyz.



Geographically, Lake Zürich is located in the southwestern part of the canton of Zürich. To the east are – separated by Zürichberg-Adlisberg, Forch and Pfannenstiel – two minor lakes: Greifensee (Lake Greifen) and Pfäffikersee (Lake Pfäffikon). To the west Zimmerberg and Etzel region is located.

Lake Zürich is formed by the river Linth, which, rising in the glaciers of the Tödi Range in Glarus, which was diverted by the Escher canal (completed in 1811) into the Lake Walen, there by means of the Linth canal (completed in 1816), its waters are carried to the east end of the Lake of Zürich. The waters of the Lake of Zürich outflow from the lake at its north-west end, passing through the city of Zürich, however the outflow is then called the Limmat.

No streams of importance flow into the lake besides the Linth. It is included, or the greater portion, in the Canton of Zürich, but at its east end about 20 km² towards the southern shore are in Canton of Schwyz, and 10 km² towards its northern shore in Canton of St. Gallen. The large masonry dam (the Seedamm), carrying a railway line and road from Rapperswil to Pfäffikon, divides the lake. The eastern section of the lake is known as the Obersee, German for "upper lake". West of this dam lie the small islands of Lützelau and Ufenau, where in 1523 Ulrich von Hutten took refuge and died. Both shores are well cultivated and fertile. Another touristic destination is the Au peninsula at the village of Au between Wädenswil and Horgen.

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 Zürichsee-Schifffahrtsgesellschaft – the Lake Zürich Navigation Company – provides with its 17 passenger ships touristic services on Lake Zürich. There are a number of passenger ferry services, noticeably the small auto ferry between Horgen and Meilen.

Cities at the lake

List of cities at Lake Zurich
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 Zurich.

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

On the opposite shore are Küsnacht, Meilen, Stäfa, and Rapperswil-Jona with the medieval town of Rapperswil, its castle of which shelters 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 Zurich's water is very clean and reaches, during summer, temperatures well beyond 20 °C. Swimming in the public baths and beaches is very popular. The lake's water is purified and fed into Zurich's water system; it is potable.


Zürichsee view from Zurich to the Alps.

See also


External links


Simple English

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