To say that the town of Solothurn, Switzerland, is obsessed with the number eleven would be an understatement. There are representations of the number eleven all throughout the town from the buildings to the steps to even a clock.
Let’s start with the unusual clock that’s located on the wall of an investment bank. It only has an 11-hour dial with the number 12 missing in addition to its 11 cogs and bells. The town of Solothurn – which was founded by the Romans 2,000 years ago – has 11 chapels, 11 churches, 11 towers, 11 museums, and 11 fountains.
Located on Judengasse (or Jew’s Street), there is a building that was home to the Blacksmith’s Guild at one time – coincidentally one of eleven medieval societies that were from there. Not far from there is the St. Ursus Cathedral which is full of history representing the number eleven. It is believed that it took 11 years to build; it has three flights of 11 stairs; there are two fountains each with 11 taps; there are 11 doors there; there are 11 types of marble on one of the 11 altars; the church pews are in rows of 11; there are 11 bells in the tower; and the church is split into three parts with each part reaching 11 meters in height.
To dig further back into history, the guilds elected 11 members to the town’s council in 1252, followed by Solothurn becoming the 11th canton of the Swiss Confederation in 1481, and then it was divided into 11 protectorates in the 16th century.
So, why the fascination with the number 11? There are, of course, different theories on how the town came to be obsessed with the number. One of those legends is that magical elves came to the town from Weissenstein Mountain to cheer up the hard-working locals. Oddly enough, the number eleven in German translates to “elf”.
Another theory is that it has significant meaning in the Bible and therefore they believe it to be a holy number. And it is considered to be the most intuitive of all numbers according to numerology, often being identified with psychics and faith.
The number 11 has been associated with the town of Solothurn for many centuries and it’s way too much to just be a coincidence. The next time I come across anything associated with the number 11, such as eleven steps or eleven railings, I may just have to wonder if there is any significant or secret meaning behind it.