Lake Zürich is a lake in Switzerland, extending southeast of the city of Zürich. Depending on the context, Lake Zürich – or Zürichsee – can be used to describe the lake as a whole, or just that part of the lake downstream of the Seedamm at Rapperswil, whilst the part upstream of Rapperswil may be called the Obersee or Upper Lake.
Lake Zürich is formed by the Linth river, which rises in the glaciers of the Glarus Alps and was diverted by the Escher canal (completed in 1811) into Lake Walen – or Walensee – from where its waters are carried to the east end of Lake Zürich by means of the Linth canal (completed in 1816). The waters of the Lake of Zürich flow out of the lake at its north-west end, passing through the city of Zürich where the outflow is then called the Limmat. The culminating point of the lake’s drainage basin is the Tödi at 3,614 metres above sea level.
No streams of importance flow into the lake besides the Linth. The Seedamm, a partially artificial causeway and bridge, crosses a narrow point of the lake carrying a railway line and road from Rapperswil to Pfäffikon. The eastern section of the lake is known as the Obersee, German for “upper lake”. West of this dam lie the small islands of Lützelau and Ufenau, where in 1523 Ulrich von Hutten took refuge and died. Another touristic destination is the Au peninsula at the village of Au between Wädenswil and Horgen.
Administratively, Lake Zürich is split between the cantons of Zürich, St. Gallen and Schwyz. The lower lake, to the west of the Seedamm, is largely in the canton of Zürich, whilst the upper lake is shared between the cantons of St. Gallen and Schwyz.
The MS Panta Rhei is the newest motor ship of the Zürichsee-Schiffahrtsgesellschaft (ZSG), which operates since the spring of 2008 on Lake Zurich.
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