Duke Berthold V of Zähringen founded the city on the River Aare in 1191 and allegedly named it after a bear he had killed (Bern has had bears for centuries - one can visit the bears in the bear pit off the Nydeggbrücke.)
The most famous monument of Bern is the Zytglogge, the medieval clock tower with its moving puppets. Other noteworthy sites include the Bundeshaus (the seat of the federal Parliament and administration) and the Münster (the cathedral).
Illustrious Bernese include the scientist Albrecht von Haller, the poet Albert Bitzius and the painters Ferdinand Hodler and Paul Klee. The German-born physicist Albert Einstein worked out his theory of relativity while employed as a clerk at the Bern patent office.