Geneva is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland (after Zurich) and is the most populous city of Romandy, the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Situated where the Rhone exits Lake Geneva, it is the capital of the Republic and Canton of Geneva. While the municipality itself (downtown ville de Geneve) has a population (as of August 2011) of 191,803, the canton of Geneva (Republique et Canton de Geneve, which includes the city) has 464,677 residents (as of July 2011). In 2008, the urban area, or agglomeration franco-valdo-genevoise (Great Geneva) had 890,000 inhabitants, two-thirds of whom lived on Swiss soil and one-third on French soil.
Geneva is a global city, a financial centre, and a worldwide centre for diplomacy and the most important UN international co-operation centre with New York thanks to the presence of numerous international organizations, including the headquarters of many of the agencies of the United Nations and the Red Cross. It is also the place where the Geneva Conventions were signed, which chiefly concern the treatment of wartime non-combatants and prisoners of war.
Geneva has been described as the third European financial centre after London and Zurich, and the world's eighth most important financial centre by the Global Financial Centres Index, ahead of Frankfurt, and a 2009 survey by Mercer found Geneva to have the third-highest quality of life of any city in the world (narrowly outranked by Zurich). The city has been referred to as the world's most compact metropolis and the "Peace Capital." In 2009, Geneva was ranked as the fourth most expensive city in the world.
Heritage sites of national significance
There are 82 buildings or sites in Geneva that are listed as Swiss heritage site of national significance, and the entire old city of Geneva is part of the Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites.
Religious Buildings: Cathedral St-Pierre et Chapel des Macchabes, Notre-Dame Church, Russe Church, St-Germain Church, Temple de la Fusterie, Temple de l'Auditoire
Civic Buildings: Former Arsenal and Archives of the City of Geneve, Former Credit Lyonnais, Former Hotel Buisson, Former Hotel du Resident de France et Bibliotheque de la Societe de lecture de Geneve, Former ecole des arts industriels, Archives d'Etat de Geneve (Annexe), Batiment des forces motrices, Library de Geneve, Library juive de Geneve, Cabinet des estampes, Centre d'Iconographie genevoise, College Calvin, Ecole Geisendorf, Hopitaux universitaires de Geneve (HUG), Hotel de Ville et tour Baudet, Immeuble Clarte at Rue Saint-Laurent 2 and 4, Immeubles House Rotonde at Rue Charles-Giron 11-19, Immeubles at Rue Beauregard 2, 4, 6, 8, Immeubles at Rue de la Corraterie 10-26, Immeubles at Rue des Granges 2-6, Immeuble at Rue des Granges 8, Immeubles at Rue des Granges 10 and 12, Immeuble at Rue des Granges 14, Immeuble and Former Armory at Rue des Granges 16, Immeubles at Rue Pierre Fatio 7 and 9, House de Saussure at Rue de la Cite 24, House Des arts du Grutli at Rue du General-Dufour 16, House Royale et les deux immeubles a cote at Quai Gustave Ador 44-50, Tavel House at Rue du Puits-St-Pierre 6, Turrettini House at Rue de l'Hotel-de-Ville 8 and 10, Brunswick Monument, Palais de Justice, Palais de l'Athenee, Palais des Nations with library and archives of the SDN and ONU, Palais Eynard et Archives de la ville de Geneve, Palais Wilson, Parc des Bastions avec Mur des Reformateurs, Place Neuve et Monument du General Dufour, Pont de la Machine, Pont sur l'Arve, Poste du Mont-Blanc, Quai du Mont-Blanc, Quai et Hotel des Bergues, Quai General Guisan and English Gardens, Quai Gustave-Ador and Jet d'eau, Television Suisse Romande, university of Geneva, Victoria Hall
Archeological Sites: Fondation Baur and Museum of the arts d'Extreme-Orient, Parc et campagne de la Grange and Library (neolithic shore settlement/roman villa), Bronze Age shore settlement of Plonjon, Temple de la Madeleine archeological site, Temple Saint-Gervais archeological site, Old City with celtic, roman and medieval villages
Museums, Theaters and other Cultural Sites: Conservatoire de musique at Place Neuve 5, Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques, Fonds cantonal d'art contemporain, Ile Rousseau and statue, Institute and Museum of Voltaire with Library and Archives, Mallet House and Museum international de la Reforme, Musee Ariana, Musee d'Art et d'Histoire, Museum d'art moderne et contemporain, Museum d'ethnographie, Museum of the International Red Cross, Musee Rath, Museum d'histoire naturelle, Salle communale de Plainpalais et theatre Pitoeff, Villa Bartholoni et Museum d'Histoire et Sciences
International Organizations: International Labour Organization (BIT), International Committee of the Red Cross, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), World Meteorological Organization, World Trade Organization, International Telecommunication Union, World Alliance of Young Men's Christian Association
Transport: The city is served by the Geneva Cointrin International Airport. It is connected by Geneva Airport railway station (French: Gare de Geneve-Aeroport) with both the Swiss railway network SBB-CFF-FFS, and the French SNCF network, including direct connections to Paris, Lyon, Marseille and Montpellier by TGV. Geneva is also connected to the motorway systems of both Switzerland (A1 motorway) and France.
Public transport by bus, trolleybus or tram is provided by Transports Publics Genevois (TPG). In addition to an extensive coverage of the city centre, the network covers most of the municipalities of the Canton, with a few lines extending into France. Public transport by boat is provided by the Mouettes Genevoises, which link the two banks of the lake within the city, and by the Compagnie Generale de Navigation sur le lac Leman (CGN) which serves more distant destinations such as Nyon, Yvoire, Thonon, Evian, Lausanne and Montreux using both modern diesel vessels and vintage paddle steamers.
Trains operated by SBB-CFF-FFS connect the airport to the main station of Cornavin in a mere six minutes, and carry on to towns such as Nyon, Lausanne, Fribourg, Montreux, Neuchatel, Berne, Sion, Sierre, etc. Regional train services are being increasingly developed, towards Coppet and Bellegarde. At the city limits, two new stations have been created since 2002: Geneve-Secheron (close to the UN and the Botanical Gardens) and Lancy-Pont-Rouge.
In 2005, work started on the CEVA (Cornavin-Eaux-Vives-Annemasse) project, first planned in 1884, which will connect Cornavin with the Cantonal hospital, the Eaux-Vives station and Annemasse, in France. The link between the main station and the classification yard of La Praille already exists; from there, the line will go mostly underground to the Hospital and the Eaux-Vives, where it will link up to the existing line to France. Support for this project was obtained from all parties in the local parliament.
Taxis in Geneva can be difficult to find, and may need to be booked in advance especially in the early morning or at peak hours. In addition, taxis can refuse to take babies and children because of seating legislation.
An ambitious project to close 200 streets in the centre of Geneva to cars has been approved in principle by the Geneva cantonal authorities, and is projected to be implemented over four years (2010-2014).
Geneva is the seat of the European headquarters of the United Nations. It is located in the Palace of Nations building (French: Palais des Nations) which was also the headquarters of the former League of Nations. Several agencies are headquartered at Geneva, among which the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Apart from the United Nation agencies, Geneva hosts many inter-governmental organizations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Economic Forum (WEF), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Organizations on the European level, include the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and the CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) which is the world's largest particle physics laboratory.
The Geneva Environment Network (GEN) publishes the Geneva Green Guide, and extensive listing of Geneva-based global organisations working on environment protection and sustainable development. A website (by the Swiss Government, WBCSD, UNEP and IUCN) includes stories about how NGOs, business, government and the UN cooperate. By doing so, it attempts to explain why Geneva has been picked by so many NGOs and UN as their headquarters location.
Links: City of Geneva