Switzerland resorts. The Chillon castle in Montreux (Vaud), Geneva lake. Switzerland tours
Chillon Castle stands on a cliff, slightly rising above the surface of the lake, and is connected to the shore by a bridge
Chillon Castle (Chateau de Chillon) is an old Swiss castle located on the shores of Lake Geneva, 3 km from Montreux, in the town of Veytaux
Chillon Castle dates from the 9th century, but all its buildings were erected at different times. This castle is considered one of the main and most interesting sights of Switzerland. Although the first mention of this building dates back to 1160, scientists have every reason to believe that its age is actually much more. Before becoming a long-term residence of the Savoy dynasty, it could have a completely different use.
For centuries people have settled in this place, not far from a huge source of fresh water. Thus, during excavations at the end of the 19th century, archaeologists found ancient Roman coins, statues of Roman gods cast in bronze, fragments of mosaics and wall paintings. The strategically important road between Switzerland and Italy was under the scrutiny of the Roman Empire, and at the narrowest point between the lake and the sheer cliff was a military outpost. And the first traces of man, found here, date back to the Bronze Age.
At the beginning of the 1930s, for several years, a Swiss historian, public and political figure, supporter of the Reformation, Francois Bonivard, remained in prison at Chillon Castle. It was his story that formed the basis of Byron's poem "The Chillon Prisoner" (1816), thanks to which the entire enlightened world learned about this historical landmark. Part of the surface of the rock on which the castle was built serves as the floor and wall in the prison room. Chateau de Chillon is very popular among tourists. It has well-preserved interiors. You can see the three large rooms that served the Savoy family for receptions and feasts. Aula Magna (large lower hall) was rebuilt in the XIII-XV centuries. Its windows overlook the lake.
The history of Switzerland, starting from the time of Ancient Rome, was constantly connected with the struggle and wars. There were many who wanted to join these lands to their possessions. The greatest interest in the Alpine valleys arose in the Middle Ages, when they found themselves at the intersection of important trade routes. To this should be added the strong fragmentation of the country into small kingdoms. This led to the fact that castles, fortresses and other fortifications were built almost everywhere in Switzerland. Many of them have survived to the present times and are of great interest for tourists.
The castle is located on a rock, and a bridge connects it with the shore
The castle is located in the canton of Vaud; the nearest city, Montreux, is three kilometers away. The castle became the residence of the Duke of Savoy dynasty in the middle of the 13th century. The Dukes of Savoy, thanks to successful intrigues and matrimonial actions, eventually became the rulers of almost all of Italy. Their tribal fortress personified the power and omnipotence of this kind.
Here intrigues were dragged along, serious local wars were fomented and even crimes were committed. The family lost its citadel in 1536, when the rebels of Bernez released Francois Bonivard from prison. The castle became their property and was used as an arsenal and barracks. In the first half of the nineteenth century, largely due to Byron and his poem, there were many visitors every year.
The growing popularity of the fortress and the need for its restoration led to the fact that in 1887 an organization was created under the name "Association of Chillon Castle". Together, the government of the canton and this organization restored the castle and it was opened to visitors as a museum. In 1891, Chillon received the status of a historical monument. The annual number of visitors in the first half of the twentieth century has already reached one hundred thousand people. The castle has five courtyards and several towers.
Switzerland is rarely perceived as a country of castles, but there are about 1000 of them here. Especially many castles are located in the canton of Vaud, near Lake Geneva. In addition, the three castles of Bellinzona, in the southern canton of Ticino, are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The castles of Switzerland, as a rule, belonged to noble feudal lords; since there have never been kings in Switzerland, that royal pomp is not to be found here. Often it is a harsh construction made for defensive purposes, if possible decorated with tapestries and heavy furniture.
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