The old portion of the city has many fine Renaissance era buildings decorated with exterior frescos and sculpture, as well as the impressive old canton fortress, the Munot. A train runs out of town to the nearby Rhine Falls in Neuhausen am Rheinfall, Europe's largest waterfall, a tourist attraction.
Schaffhausen was a city state in the Middle Ages, documented to have struck its own coins starting in 1045. For a time it was under Habsburg domination, but regained its independence in 1415. It allied itself with Zürich in 1457, and became a full member of the Swiss Confederation in 1501. The first railroad came to Schaffhausen in 1857.
Schaffhausen is in a finger of Swiss territory surrounded on three sides by Germany. On April 1, 1944, Schaffhausen suffered a bombing raid by United States Army Air Forces aircraft which strayed from German airspace into neutral Switzerland. While the United States immediately offered a million dollars in reparations, the raid occurred only a month after the Swiss Air Force had shot down an American bomber.
Schaffhausen has some well-known industrial companies (Georg Fischer) in piping systems, machine tools and automotives, one internationally-reputed watches manufacturer (IWC), and drug industry (Cilag, founded by Bernhard Joos).