|Etzel mountain: Capuchin monastery to the left, Rapperswil castle and St. John's church in the background, Lake Zürich harbour and Altstadt in the foreground respectively Seedamm, wooden bridge and upper Lake Zürich to the right (October 2010)|
|Population||7,601 (December 2006)|
|- Density||4,368 /km2 (11,314 /sq mi)|
|Area||1.74 km2 (0.67 sq mi)|
|Elevation||409 m (1,342 ft)|
|Surrounded by||Altendorf (SZ), Freienbach (SZ), Jona, Bollingen, Lachen (SZ)|
Rapperswil (Swiss German: [ˈrɑpːərʃˌʋiːl] or [ˈrɑpːərsˌʋiːl]; short: Rappi) is a former municipality and since January 2007 part of the municipality of Rapperswil-Jona in the Wahlkreis (constituency) of See-Gaster in the canton of St. Gallen in Switzerland, located at the east side of the Lake Zurich.
The town's main sights are concentrated in the Altstadt of Rapperswil and can be seen while strolling through the medieval alleys. The main sights of Rapperswil are its rose gardens, Rapperswil Castle, the reconstructed wooden bridge to Hurden with its bridge chapel Heilig Hüsli located at Seedamm, the Kapuzinerkloster (Capuchin's monastery), the remains of the Middle Ages fortifications located on Lake Zürich, Lindenhof hill, Herrenberg, Engelplatz, Hauptplatz, Bühlerallee and Fischmarktplatz at Rapperswil harbour.
Rapperswil is often referred to as the "town of roses" (Rosenstadt) because of its extensive displays of roses in three designated parks. No less than 15,000 plants of 600 different kinds may be viewed between June and October. There is also a rose garden in the town center, accessible to blind and disabled people.
The old town (Altstadt) is dominated by the Schloss Rapperswil located at the peninsula called Endingen, Lindenhof and Herrenberg on Lake Zürich perched atop this rocky hill at the bay of Kempraten. The castle dates back to the early 13th century (first mentioned in 1229). In 1350, it was destroyed by Rudolf Brun, the mayor of Zürich, and was rebuilt in 1352/54 by Albrecht II, Duke of Austria. Deer inhabit lands surrounding the castle. Since 1870, the castle has been home to the Polish National Museum created by Polish émigrés, including the castle's lessee and restorer, Count Wladyslaw Broel-Plater.
A small Capuchin's monastery was established in 1606 at the lakeside Endingerhorn as a Catholic counterpart to the Reformation's centre in the city of Zürich. The monastery buildings belong to the citizens of Rapperswil (Endingen itself belongs to the Einsiedeln Abbey) rather than to the monks who inhabit it, and is still in use. The main churches in town include the Roman Catholic St. John's Church (built in early 13th century), the Cemetery Chapel (Liebfrauenkapelle) and a small Protestant church.
The locational advantage of the place attracted the national Circus Knie who built its headquarters in Rapperswil in 1919. The circus is now also responsible for the Circus Museum  and the Knie's Kinderzoo located in Rapperswil which is particularly aimed at children. Rapperswil also hosts the Hochschule für Technik Rapperswil HSR (University of Applied Sciences Rapperswil)  and an Economics school for parts of the cantons Zürich and St. Gallen.
Zürichsee-Schifffahrtsgesellschaft (commonly abbreviated to ZSG) operates passenger vessels on the Lake Zürich (Zürichsee), connecting the surrounding towns between Zürich-Bürkliplatz and the Rapperswil peninsula with its beautiful harbour area.
|Lordship (County) of Rapperswil
Herrschaft (Grafschaft) Rapperswil
|State of the Holy Roman Empire|
|Historical era||Middle Ages, Early Modern period|
|-||Rapperswil founded||1229 (official date)|
|-||Lordship established||ca 1233 1220|
|-||Inherited by counts of
|-||Purchased liberty from
|-||Allied with Habsburg
in the Old Zürich War
|-||Condominium of the
Old Swiss Confederacy
|-||Annexed to Helvetic
canton of Linth
|-||Joined St Gallen|
Settlements in the region of Rapperswil date back to at least 5000 years ago. Archaeological relicts have been found at a Bronze Age village, and the remains of a first wooden bridge (1523 B.C., reconstructed in 2001) to Hurden (SZ) located on upper Lake Zürich shore nearby the Technical University (HSR) respectively the so-called Heilig Hüsli (Seedamm). In Kempraten, two kilometers away, there was a probably Helvetiic settlement; and in the beginning of the 1st century A.D., the Roman vicus Centum Prata (meaning 100 meadows) became an important trade center on the way to the Roman heartland. The neolithic bridge between Hurden and Rapperswil was renewed by the Romans at least around 165 AD. Rapperswil's vineyards are first mentioned in 981, a ferry to the Ufenau island, too. The town's probably oldest building, the so called Einsiedlerhaus, may been built in the same year.
Counts of Rapperswil
Rapperswil Castle and the fortifications of the former locus Endingen (given by Einsiedeln Abbey) were built by Count Rudolf II and his son Rudolf III of Rapperswil around 1220/29: The town was founded when the nobility of Rapperswil moved from Altendorf (SZ) across the lake to Rapperswil. The house of Rapperswil founded the Wettingen monastery in 1227 and the Mariazell-Wurmsbach Abbey in 1259, and they acted as Vögte of Einsiedeln Abbey. On the headland/peninsula at Oberbollingen, the St. Nicholas Chapel is mentioned, where around 1229 a small Cistercian (later Premonstratensian) monastery was established by the house of Rapperswil; in 1267 it was united with the nearby Mariazell-Wurmsbach Abbey. St. Martin Busskirch is one of the oldest churches around the Lake Zürich. Even the citizens of Rapperswil had to attend services in Busskirch until Count Rudolf II of Rapperswil built the Stadtpfarrkirche on Herrenberg next to Rapperswil Castle.
The Counts of Rapperswil had possessions in what is now Eastern and Central Switzerland. They bore the title of count from 1233. Since the 13th/14th centuries, Lützelau island has belonged to the community of Rapperswil (now called Ortsbürgergemeinde), its sandstone was used to build Rapperswil castle and the town walls. The house of Rapperswil became extinct in 1283 with the death of the 18 year old Count Rudolf V of Rapperswil, after which emperor Rudolf I acquired their fiefs. The Grafschaft of Rapperswil proper passed to the house of Homberg represented by Count Ludwig († April, 27 1289) by first marriage of Elisabeth of Rapperswil. Around 1309 the Grafschaft passed to Count Rudolf († 1315) of Habsburg-Laufenburg by second marriage of Elisabeth of Rapperswil, the sister of Rudolf V, followed by her son, Count Johann I († 1337) and his son, Johann II († 1380).
In 1337, Rudolf Brun, mayor of the city of Zürich, defeated his political opponents, the former members of the Rat (council) of Zürich. They refuged to Count Johann I of Rapperswil who was killed in 1337 at the battle of Grynau against Zürich troops. An attempted coup by the aristocratic opposition was forcefully put down in 1350: Count Johann II of Rapperswil, now the opposition's leader, was arrested for two years, and the town walls of Rapperswil, its castle and Altendorf castle were destroyed by Brun. The remains of the former Herrschaft Rapperswil – Rapperswil and some surrounding villages including Jona – were sold by Count Johann II and his brothers, Rudolf IV and Gottfried II, to the Habsburg family and partially (Höfe) to the city of Zürich, as the house of Rapperswil was not able to rebuild the town and the destroyed castles.
Between 1358 and 1360 Rudolf IV, Duke of Austria, built a wooden bridge across the lake that has been used to 1878 – measuring approximately 1,450 metres (4,757 ft) in length and 4 metres (13 ft) wide; 546 oak piles have been installed. In 1415, the town bought freedom for itself. In 1442, during Old Zurich War, Rapperswil was in alliance with Zürich and the Habsburg Dynasty. In 1458 Rapperswil was controlled by the Swiss Confederation as a so-called Gemeine Herrschaft, i.e. under control of two cantons (Glarus and Schwyz) of the Old Swiss Conferation and their representant, a Vogt at Rapperswil castle.
Because of its strategic location along important infrastructure lines, and because of flourishing trade, the town grew rich. This allowed a certain degree of freedom (especially within the Habsburg-controlled territories and) within the Swiss Confederation which ended with the formation of the Swiss cantons by Napoleon in 1799. In 1656 and 1712 (Battles of Villmergen), Rapperswil was involved in two wars between the Catholic and Reformed cantons of the Old Swiss Confederation. Rapperswil was at first part of the Helvetic and the canton of Linth's capital city. After the 1803 Act of Mediation, it joined the canton of St. Gallen, and the former Herrschaft Rapperswil was split into the municipalites of Rapperswil and Jona.
On January 1, 2007, the former municipalities of Rapperswil and Jona merged to form a new political entity: Rapperswil-Jona has a population of 25,777 (December 2007). This makes it the second-largest town in the canton after the capital of St. Gallen itself.
Ironman 70.3 Switzerland and the Triathon Challenge took place in Rapperswil-Jona on June 6, 2010. The blues'n'jazz festival, taking place since 1998, is being held end June. Every three years Seenachtsfest is celebrated one weekend in August, attracting nearly 100,000 visitors to a spectacular fireworks, for the next time in summer 2013. Rapperswil is the home of the Rapperswil-Jona Lakers, and their Diners Club Arena is situated on Obersee lakeshore. Kunst(Zeug)Haus is a vibrant center of Swiss contemporary art, housed in a former Swiss Military armory (Zeughaus). Herzbaracke is a swimming theatre, cabaret and restaurant on Lake Zürich at different locations, among them Zürich-Bellevue and Rapperswil harbour. Eis-zwei-Geissebei is a Carnival festival in Rapperswil on Shrove Tuesday, and Christkindlymärt is a Christmas funfair celebrated in late December.
In Rapperswil there are several sites situatead that are listed as Swiss heritage sites of national significance: Schloss Rapperswil with the Polish Museum including the Polish national archive, the medieval Rathaus (town hall) located at the Hauptplatz square, and the Seedamm region including Heilig Hüsli and the remains of the prehistoric wooden bridges respectively the neolithic stilt house settlements located there. Latter are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Prehistoric Pile dwellings around the Alps".
Rapperswil railway station is a nodal point of the Südostbahn (SOB) and the S-Bahn Zürich on the lines S5, S7, S15, S26 and S40. Its train station is a 36 minute (S5) ride from Zürich Hauptbahnhof and a 55 minute ride to St. Gallen with InterRegio respectively Voralpen Express (Südostbahn).
- Albrecht von Rapperswil (13th century AD)
- Marianne Ehrmann-Brentano (1755–1795)
- Agaton Giller (1831–1887)
- Josef Müller-Brockmann (1914–1996)
- Count Wladyslaw Plater (1808–1889)
- Joachim Raff (1822–1882)
- Gerold Späth (*1939)
- Stefan Zeromski (1864–1925)
- Alfredo Battistini (1953–2008)
- Towns respectively villages of the municipality of Rapperswil-Jona: Bollingen, Busskirch, Jona, Kempraten, Rapperswil
- Points of interest: Circus Knie, Heilig Hüsli, Hochschule für Technik Rapperswil HSR (University of Applied Sciences Rapperswil), Holzbrücke Rapperswil-Hurden, Kapuzinerkloster Rapperswil, Knies Kinderzoo, Paddle steamer Stadt Rapperswil, Polish Museum Rapperswil, Rapperswil Castle, Rathaus Rapperswil, Seedamm, Stadtmuseum Rapperswil, Stadtpfarrkirche Rapperswil, Wurmsbach Abbey
- Andres Kristol, Rapperswil SG (See) in: Dictionnaire toponymique des communes suisses – Lexikon der schweizerischen Gemeindenamen – Dizionario toponomastico dei comuni svizzeri (DTS|LSG), Centre de dialectologie, Université de Neuchâtel, Verlag Huber, Frauenfeld/Stuttgart/Wien 2005, ISBN 3-7193-1308-5 and Éditions Payot, Lausanne 2005, ISBN 2-601-03336-3, p. 727.
- Castle of Rapperswil (official site) (German)
- National Museum of Poland in Rapperswil (official site)
- Rapperswil monastery (official site) (German)
- Pfarrei St. Johann (official site) (German)
- Circus Knie (official site) (German)
- Circus Museum Rapperswil (official site) (German)
- Knie's Kinderzoo (official site) (German)
- University of Applied Sciences Rapperswil (HSR) (official site) (German)
- Zürichsee Schifffahrtsgesellschaft Boat schedules, mainly (German)
- Website Unterwasserarchäologische Projekte Kanton St. Gallen (German)
- Neue Zürcher Zeitung (January 20/21, 2001): Die Brücke auf dem Grund des Zürichsees (German)
- www.seenachtsfest-rj.ch (German)
- Kunst(Zeug)Haus Rapperswil website (German)
- Herzbaracke website (German)
- Swiss inventory of cultural property of national and regional significance
- UNESCO World Heritage Centre
- palafittes.org (German)
- Beat Glaus: Der Kanton Linth der Helvetik. Schwyz 2005. ISBN 3-033-00438-5
- Peter Röllin: Kulturbaukasten Rapperswil-Jona. Rapperswil-Jona 2005. ISBN 3-033-00478-4
- Media related to Rapperswil at Wikimedia Commons
- Rapperswil-Jona (official site) (German)
- Ortsgemeinde Rapperswil-Jona (German)
- Tourist Information Rapperswil-Jona (German)
- Rapperswil in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.