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Schaffhausen

(4.1/5 based on 480+ reviews for 9 attractions)
Things to do: historic sites, museums, spas
Schaffhausen is a city in northern Switzerland and the capital of the canton of the same name; it has an estimated population of 34,587 as of December 2008.The official language of Schaffhausen is German, but the main spoken language is the local variant of the Alemannic Swiss German dialect.The old portion of the city has many fine Renaissance era buildings decorated with exterior frescos and sculpture, as well as the impressive old canton fortress, the Munot. A train runs out of town to the nearby Rhine Falls in Neuhausen am Rheinfall, Europe's largest waterfall, a tourist attraction.Origin of the nameThe town is first mentioned in 1045 as Villa Scafhusun. There are at least two theories on the origin of this name. One is related to a mention of a "ford" across the Rhine River that first occurs in 1050. This "ford" may actually refer to a scapha or skiff which was used to disembark goods coming from Constance to move them around the Rhine Falls. The name Scafhusun then arose from the scapha used at that point. Another theory is that Scafhusun comes from Schaf (a sheep), as a ram (now a sheep) formed the ancient arms of the town, derived from those of its founders, the counts of Nellenburg.
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