One of Bern’s historic neighborhoods, the MatteQuartier dates back to the early modern era. Located on a peninsula in the middle of the Aare, just below the actual old town, sits the neighborhood. That area is visibly isolated from the rest of the city.

The MatteQuartier was famous for its bathhouses, some of which doubled as brothels, for quite some time. In 1760, Giacomo Casanova came here for a good time, and by the summer of 1824, the architectural mastermind of Berlin, Karl Friedrich Schinkel, was appalled by the immorality on show. The mat was assigned the color black when the city’s five districts were established in 1798.

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