This is another Zurich puzzler that I’ve been trying to figure out.
There are lots of “Zunfthaeuser”, Guild houses and restaurants, and the longest established of these are to be found on the Limmatquai, on the river opposite the Rathaus. Last night, we had a meal in the Blue Monkey
, which is a restaurant based in the Zunfthaus zur Schneiden (Guild of Schneidern
: cloth merchants, furriers and tailors) which was founded in 1336. The image shows the guild shield.
I did a bit of searching on the web and here’s what I found about the guilds:
Source = http://www.swisstownguide.ch/zh/info/eng/even105.html
The guild constitution, which was the work of Rudolf Brun in 1336, united the craftsmen and commercial tradesmen in 13 different guilds, and the noblemen and rich merchants in the association of the ‘Constaffel’ (Constables). Only the ‘Constaffel’ and the members of these guilds were entitled to elect the city council and city officials. As a result they held absolute political power in Zurich until the abolition of this constitution in 1798. In 1798 the invading French army abolished the guild constitution, the guilds’ gold and silver treasures were confiscated and the guild houses were sold. Until 1866 the guilds still had the privilege of forming special election constituencies, thus ensuring that they were represented in the city parliament. Today the guilds are private associations without any political privileges; their aims are to promote friendship and to foster interest in the history and traditions of Zurich.
Of the 13 original historic guilds, only 11 still exist, since two guilds have merged with another guild. In the 19th and 20th century an additional 14 guilds were founded, leading to a total of 25 guilds plus the society of ‘Constaffel’.