Paracelsus (real name: Theophrastus von Hohenheim; 1493–1541). 1527/1528 city physician of Basel, leading scholar in naturopathic medicine, and therapist. Signposts: grey on blue. Time required: about 60 minutes. A lot of steps and steep inclines.
This walk takes you along both sides of the valley of the city’s river Birsig. You first walk up the intriguingly named “eleven thousand virgins” lane (Elftausendjungfern-Gässlein) towards the Martinskirchplatz. The church of St Martin is often the venue for official ceremonies. The impressive facades of the large town houses here bear testimony to the wealth of the old city of Basel. Today, these buildings house parts of the city’s administration. Through narrow lanes and down innumerable steps (known as “Stapfle” in the local dialect), the route takes you back into the valley. Without noticing it, Paracelsus walk Mediaeval lanes when you walk over the Falknerstrasse, you cross the river Birsig, whose course between the Heuwaage and Schifflände down to the Rhine has run underground for a good hundred years. The walk now takes you to the other side of the valley. Through the old craftsmen’s alleyways, you come to the church of St Leonhard and to the Lohnhof. Once the seat of the city’s department for buildings and salaries, later a prison for people awaiting trial, the Lohnhof today houses residential apartments, the Music Museum and a small hotel-restaurant. Follow the narrow mediaeval streets back to the central market square (Marktplatz). On the way, the last steps will take you past the Pharmaceutical History Museum, where you can still see the utensils used at the time of Paracelsus.