Bundesplatz (Parliament Square) was a depressing, automobile-filled parking area until 2003. The arrival of the vibrant vegetable, fruit, and flower market on Tuesdays and Saturdays, however, helped lift spirits (still held twice weekly). Between 2003 and 2004, the area underwent extensive renovations, clearing the way for a clear view of the Parliament Building unimpeded by trees, seats, or parked cars. The square is enhanced by a 180-square-meter rectangle whose dark slabs of Vals gneiss stone reflect the surrounding water and sky.
The weekly markets aren’t the only thing that happens in the area; it’s also used for political rallies, concerts, state receptions, and athletic events. Bundesplatz (Parliament Square) is home to the Swiss National Bank and the Bernese Cantonal Bank, and to the north, it borders Bärenplatz (Bear’s Square), which is lined with restaurants and other banks and office buildings. In front of the National Bank, an artificial skating rink and a café are set up during the winter months, and from spring through fall, the square’s western side features interactive water fountains that are great for kids and adults alike.