Lake Zurich (Redirected from Zürichsee)

Lake Zurich
Lake Zürich, Pfannenstiel, and Sihl Valley, as seen from nearby Felsenegg in April 2010
Lake Zurich is located in Canton of Zurich
Lake Zurich
Lake Zurich
Lake Zurich is located in Canton of Schwyz
Lake Zurich
Lake Zurich
Lake Zurich is located in Canton of St. Gallen
Lake Zurich
Lake Zurich
Lake Zurich is located in Switzerland
Lake Zurich
Lake Zurich
Lake Zurich is located in Alps
Lake Zurich
Lake Zurich
Coordinates47°14′51″N 8°40′39″E / 47.24750°N 8.67750°E / 47.24750; 8.67750
Native nameZürichsee (German)
Primary inflowsLinth (Linthkanal)
Primary outflowsLimmat
Catchment area1,829 km2 (706 sq mi)
Basin countriesSwitzerland
Max. length40 kilometres (25 miles)
Max. width3 kilometres (2 miles)
Surface area88.66 square kilometres (34.23 square miles)
Average depth49 metres (161 feet)
Max. depth136 metres (446 feet)
Water volume3.9 km3 (0.94 cu mi)
Residence time440 days
Surface elevation406 m (1,332 ft)
Frozen1929, 1962/1963 (last)
IslandsLützelau, Ufenau, Schönenwirt
Settlementssee list

Lake Zurich (German: Zürichsee; Swiss German/Alemannic: Zürisee) is a lake in Switzerland, extending southeast of the city of Zürich. Depending on the context, Lake Zurich 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 Zurich is formed by the river Linth, 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 Zurich by means of the Linth canal (completed in 1816). The waters of the Lake of Zurich flow out of the lake at its north-west end (Quaibrücke), 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.

No streams of importance flow into the lake besides the Linth. The Seedamm, a partially artificial causeway and bridge, crosses a narrow point of the lake carrying a railway line and road from Rapperswil to Pfäffikon. The eastern section of the lake is known as the Obersee ("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 tourist destination is the Au peninsula at the village of Au between Wädenswil and 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 Zurich 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 Common Era/Anno Domini 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 Zurich, Pfäffikon SZ and Rapperswil.

Besides Quaibrücke in Zurich and the Seedamm, there are no bridges across the lake.

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

Towns on the lake

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 Rüschlikon, Thalwil, Horgen, 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.

Lake Zurich from Grossmünster with Quaibrücke and the Limmat River in the foreground

Water quality

Lake Zurich'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. 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.

Located on Zürichsee lakeshore, there are Freienbach–Hurden Rosshorn, Freienbach–Hurden Seefeld, Rapperswil-Jona/Hombrechtikon–Feldbach, Rapperswil-Jona–Technikum, Erlenbach–Winkel, Meilen–Rorenhaab, Wädenswil–Vorder Au, Zürich–Enge Alpenquai, Grosser Hafner and Kleiner Hafner. Because the lake has grown in size over time, the original piles are now around 4 metres (13 ft) to 7 metres (23 ft) under the water level of 406 metres (1,332 ft). Also on the small area of about 40 square kilometres (15 sq mi) around Zürichsee are the settlements Greifensee–Storen/Wildsberg on Greifensee and Wetzikon–Robenhausen on Pfäffikersee lakeshore.

As well as being part of the 56 Swiss sites of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, each of these 11 prehistoric pile dwellings is also listed as a Class object in the Swiss inventory of cultural property of national and regional significance.


The following rivers or streams flow into Zürichsee. From the Limmat clockwise, they are:

Küsnachter Dorfbach and Küsnacht's Reformed Church
  • Hornbach (at Zürichhorn)
  • Düggelbach (at Zollikon)
  • Kusenbach (at Küsnacht)
  • Küsnachter Dorfbach (at Hornelanpark, Küsnacht)
  • Heslibach (at Erlenbach)
  • Dorfbach Erlenbach (at Erlenbach)
  • Tobelbächli (at Erlenbach)
  • Schipfbach (at Erlenbach)
  • Rossbach (at Herrliberg)
  • Meilener Dorfbach (at Meilen)
  • Beugenbach (at Meilen)
  • Aebletenbach (at Ländeli)
  • Uetiker Mulibach (at Meilen)
  • Feldbach (at Horn)
  • Sarenbach (at Freienbach)
  • Krebsbach (at Bäch)
  • Mülibach (at Richterswil)
  • Zürichsee (at Wädenswil)
  • Meilibach (at Wädenswil)
  • Schanzengraben (Zürich)


See also

This page was last updated at 2023-10-12 23:34 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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