Chillon Castle, the medieval treasure of SwitzerlandNovember 4, 2014
Chillon Castle is located on a rock on the shore of Lake Geneva, near Montreux, Switzerland. The castle is made up of a hundred buildings: they were once all separate and then they gradually merged to form a single, massive construction.
The oldest parts of the castle have not been definitively dated, but the first written inscriptions date back to the eleventh century. From the middle of the twelfth century, however, the castle became the residence of the Counts of Savoy, and in the thirteenth century, it was greatly expanded by order of Peter II of Savoy. Chillon Castle was never taken with violence, but it changed owners because of negotiations and agreements. After the Savoy period, it passed into the hands of the Bernese family and then it became a Vaudois property.
Built on a rocky islet, it was divided into two large areas: the facade facing the lake was the princely residence, while the facade facing the mainland was the defensive fortress. On this side, the fort has a double wall, watchtowers, double ramparts and a moat.
Inside the castle, visitors can admire the frescoes dating to the fourteenth century, both in the Count’s room and in the chapel. Among the other wonders of the building, there are also the underground vaults with their Gothic style, the Great Halls, the private chapels, the ancient weapons, the beautiful courtyards and the incredible view you can enjoy from the towers and walkways facing Lake Geneva and Montreux.
It is one of the most fascinating castles in Europe and it has more than 340,000 visitors per year, which makes it the most visited monument of its kind in Switzerland. Its beauty fascinated a lot of writers and poets: it was made popular by Lord Byron's poem "The Prisoner of Chillon" in 1816, while Henry James used it as one of the locations of his story "Daisy Miller."
On the Christmas market in Montreux, Chillon Castle falls back in time and a purely medieval atmosphere surrounds it. Thanks to banquets of artisans and merchants in period costumes, jugglers, fire-eaters, musicians playing medieval music live and soldiers in armor offering vintage wine, visitors can enjoy a unique experience.
Chillon Castle is open daily except on December 25 and January 1, according to the following times: from April to September it is open from 9 am to 7 pm, in March and October it is open from 9:30 am to 6 pm, while from November to February it is open from 10 am to 5 pm.