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Basel celebrates its 500th Swiss birthday

Basel has launched its year-long programme of festivities marking its 500th anniversary of belonging to the Swiss Confederation.

A choir, more than 800 people strong, and 130 musicians opened the celebrations on Thursday night at Basel's grand fair hall.

The 7,000 tickets to watch the performance of the eighth symphony of Gustav Mahler, "Sinfonie der Tausend", were sold out weeks ago.

The show cost SFr800,000 and was financed partly by the city and country of Basel. The celebrations are set to culminate with a huge fair on July 13.

The two half cantons joined the Swiss Confederation in 1501.

swissinfo with agencies


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