Manuscripts and prints

Initiale aus dem Zweiten Geschworenen Brief von 1373

Most of the documents stored in the Zurich State Archives are unique examples, the major part of them are handwritten. The collection of our printed publications and of the Archive's library covers the published inventory, which, of course, can also be found elsewhere.

More than one thousand years of Zurich's history

Mit dem Staatssiegel versehene Seite aus der Regenerationsverfassung von 1831

The archive holdings of the State Archives date back more than 1 100 years and they are of importance far beyond the Canton itself. Zurich used to be, amongst other things, a Königspfalz, literally King's Palace, an imperial city, a confederate suburb and a center of the reformation. This is also reflected in the Inventory of the Archive. What is remarkable is the continuity of Zurich's records, which is due to the fact that it had not suffered major catastrophes or wars. For example, the central row of government protocols, which could be called the backbone of Zurich's records, dates back all the way to the late 15th Century, with a few gaps only.

Continued growth

Bild des Nordportals des Gubristtunnels im Bau

Later documents of the Canton of Zurich (from 1798/1803 and from 1831 onwards) form the core of the State Archives' records in terms of volume. And, of course, a public archive keeps on growing for as long as the corresponding state exists under the rule of law and produces files. Every year, the State Archives store another roughly 800 metres of files. This increase is mainly due to the supply coming from Cantonal Authorities (Cantonal Parliament, Government Council with central and district administrations, notary's offices, cantonal institutions, courts). In addition, the State Archives may also file private documents regarding the history of the Canton of Zurich, as long as they represent a sensible addition to the state documents (personal papers, company archives, individual documents). There are currently some 30 kilometres of files in the Zurich State Archives, plus some terabytes of electronic files.