Geneva - Geography and Climate

Geography and Climate

Geneva is located at 46°12' North, 6°09' East, at the south-western end of Lake Geneva, where the lake flows back into the Rhône River. It is surrounded by two mountain chains, the Alps and the Jura.

The city has an area of 15.93 km2 (6.2 sq mi), while the area of the canton is 282 km2 (108.9 sq mi), including the two small enclaves of Céligny in Vaud. The part of the lake that is attached to Geneva has an area of 38 km2 (14.7 sq mi) and is sometimes referred to as Petit lac (small lake). The canton has only a 4.5 km (2.8 mi) long border with the rest of Switzerland. Of 107.5 km (66.8 mi) of border, 103 are shared with France, the Départment de l'Ain to the north and the Département de la Haute-Savoie to the south.

Of the land in the city, 0.24 km2 (0.093 sq mi) or 1.5% is used for agricultural purposes, while 0.5 km2 (0.19 sq mi) or 3.1% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 14.63 km2 (5.65 sq mi) or 91.8% is settled (buildings or roads), 0.49 km2 (0.19 sq mi) or 3.1% is either rivers or lakes and 0.02 km2 (4.9 acres) or 0.1% is unproductive land.

Of the built up area, industrial buildings made up 3.4% of the area while housing and buildings made up 46.2% and transportation infrastructure 25.8%, while parks, green belts and sports fields made up 15.7%. All the forested land area is covered with heavy forests. Of the agricultural land, 0.3% is used for growing crops. Of the water in the municipality, 0.2% is in lakes and 2.9% is in rivers and streams.

The altitude of Geneva is 373.6 metres (1,225.7 ft), and corresponds to the altitude of the largest of the Pierres du Niton, two large rocks emerging from the lake which date from the last ice age. This rock was chosen by General Guillaume Henri Dufour as the reference point for surveying in Switzerland. The second main river of Geneva is the Arve River which flows into the Rhône River just west of the city centre. Mont Blanc can be seen from Geneva and is an hour's drive from the city centre.

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