This map plots the settings and references in The Unbearable Lightness of Being

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Zurich, Switzerland
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeZurich - Credit: MadGeographer
Zurich at night
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeZurich at night - Credit: Andyindia

Not long after the 1968 Russian invasion, Tomas accepts a job at a hospital in Zurich, the largest city in Switzerland, sometimes regarded as the cultural capital of the country. (Berne is the political capital, and Geneva -- the second largest city -- is a center for world diplomacy.) Zurich is located in northern Switzerland, where the river Limmat flows from Lake Zurich, and is surrounded by wooded hills.

Zurich is a leading world financial center -- the headquarters of many banking institutions such as UBS and Credit Suisse, and the Swiss stock exchange. Several surveys in 2006-2008 named Zurich the city with the best quality of life in Europe as well as the wealthiest. It is also a center for the arts and culture: Carl Jung lived and died there; James Joyce is buried there; and Wagner, Einstein, and Thomas Mann all spent significant portions of their lives in Zurich.

Tereza goes with Tomas but Sabina also visits. Six or seven months later (probably early 1969), Tereza returns to Prague, and Tomas follows five days later.