Bern, the name of a canton and town in Switzerland. The town is situated on the Aar, and comprises well-built houses and regular streets. Its principal buildings are a Gothic cathedral, the church of the Holy Spirit, the federal council hall, the town hall, university, hospital and mint. Among educational institutions are its museum, library, and literary societies. Its trade is brisk, and besides textile fabrics includes watches, clocks, small articles in carved wood, etc. Since 1848 it has been the capital of the whole Swiss Confederation. The canton, covering an area of 2,560 square miles, is the most populous in Switzerland, and its southern part, called the Oberland, is celebrated for its scenery. Here are many of the grandest mountains of the Alpine range, the Jungfrau, Eiger, Wetterhorn, Schreckhorn, and Finsteraarhorn. The central part of the canton is noted for its fertility, while in the north is the Jura range of mountains. The principal river is the Aar, and its lakes are those of Thun, Brienz, Neuchatel, and Bienne. Iron and even gold is found in some parts, and there are numerous sandstone, marble, and granite quarries; but its chief wealth lies in agriculture and cattle-raising.