Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich. While the municipality itself has approximately 380,500 inhabitants, the Zurich metropolitan area is an urbanized area of international importance constituted by a population of nearly 2 million inhabitants. Zurich is a mixed hub for railways, roads, and air traffic. Both Zurich Airport and railway station are the largest and busiest in the country.
Permanently settled for around 7,000 years, the history of Zurich goes back to its founding by the Romans, who, in 15 BC, called it Turicum. During the Middle Ages Zurich gained the independent and privileged status of imperial immediacy and, in 1519, was the place of origin and centre of the Protestant Reformation in German-speaking Switzerland, led by Ulrich Zwingli.
Zurich is a leading global city and among the world's largest financial centres. The city is home to a large number of financial institutions and banking giants. Also, most of the research and development centres are concentrated in Zurich and the low rate of tax attracts overseas companies to set up their headquarters there. According to several surveys from 2006 to 2008, Zurich was named the city with the best quality of life in the world as well as the wealthiest city in Europe.