Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a federal republic in Europe. While still named the Swiss Confederation for historical reasons, modern Switzerland is a federal directorial republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities, called '"federal city". Situated in Western-Central Europe, Switzerland is also a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura. Spanning the intersection of Germanic and Romance Europe, Switzerland comprises four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Although the majority of the population are German speaking, Swiss national identity is rooted in a common historical background, shared values such as federalism and direct democracy, and Alpine symbolism.
One of the most developed countries in the world, Switzerland ranks at or near the top globally in several metrics of national performance, including government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic competitiveness, and human development. Its cities contain medieval quarters, with landmarks like capital Bern’s Zytglogge clock tower and Lucerne’s wooden chapel bridge. The country is also known for its ski resorts and hiking trails.