Only in Zurich by Duncan J.D. Smith

District 1 29 Some Stories from Trittligasse District 1 (Rathaus), a walk along Trittligasse Tram 4, 15 Helmhaus; 2, 5, 8, 9, 11 Bellevue Trittligasse is a narrowmedieval passage linedwith modest, two-storey houses. Documented as early as 1489 it is first mentioned by name in 1790, the word Trittli being the vernacular for steeply rising steps. It has been cobbled since the seventeenth century, and until the early nine- teenth century it was a bustling centre for hand working and crafts. Although quiet today the street was once a densely populated area of town. Records for the house at Trittligasse 4, for example, show that it was once occupied by a couple with three children and several serv- ants, another couple with four children, and a widow and her daughter. Medieval living conditions were obviously more cramped than they are today! Of particular interest is the wooden parrot perched over the door- way at Trittligasse 2, which was placed there in the twentieth century. An accompanying inscription states that the house is called Zum Sitkust. The antiquarian Hein- rich Fries in his book Im Zürcher Oberdorf (as the surrounding area between the Grossmünster and Rämistrasse is called) refers to Psit- tacus , the reason being that the first documented owner of the building, Jacobus Rufus (d. 1321), owned a real parrot, and another word for parrot in the German language is Sittich (meaning parakeet), whence Psittacus and Sitkust are both de- rived. But there is more to this build- ing than parrots. It was later in- habited by Heinrich Schüpfer and his son Rudolf, who opposed the power-greedy mayor of Zurich Rudolf Brun (c. 1290–1360) (see Trittligasse is a street full of history and charm 86