The Pyrenean brown bear is the symbol of the Swiss capital, Bern with the legend being that the city’s founder killed a bear on the Aare peninsula whilst the city was being built. From this day on, the bear was adopted as the city’s symbol and it even features on Bern’s Coat of Arms. Rightly, or wrongly, these days, the bears serve as a tourist attraction in Bern, and after many years being housed in a confined concrete pit, in 2009 the bears moved into a new, larger bear park, the Barengraben. Extending right down to the banks of the Aare, the 6000m2 site features a large grass area, two small forests, three caves and a pool parallel to the Aare, allowing the bears to live the closest thing to a real bear’s life.
Throughout Bern you'll often be reminded of the city's symbol - even rubbish bins are shaped like bears - and we've encountered quite a few bears on our visits to Bern. My boys have loved 'meeting' the bears around Bern on our visits.