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Fribourg (German Freiburg), city, western Switzerland, capital of Fribourg Canton, near Bern. Located on a rocky peninsula bounded by the Sarine River, it is known for the medieval appearance of the old part of the city. Major manufactures include processed food (especially Gruyère cheese and chocolate), metals, machinery, electrical equipment, and chemicals. Landmarks include a 12th-century church and a 13th-century cathedral. The University of Fribourg (1889) is also here. The city was founded in 1157. It became part of the Swiss Confederation in 1481 and was a stronghold of Roman Catholicism during the Counter Reformation (16th century). Population (1998) 31,939