Switzerland Montreux 2000.07.04 - 07.05

The Castle of Chillon

Montreux is almost the furthest point on Lake Geneva (called Lac Léman by the Swiss) away from the city of Geneva. Directly across the lake from Montreux towers the steeply sloped foothills of the Alps. Montreux is a gorgeous resort town with stupendous scenery.

The town's main attraction is the Castle of Chillon. It sits on a rock in Lake Geneva near the shoreline giving it natural protection from possible invaders. Over the centuries, the castle served many purposes. It housed the Bishops of Sion from the 12th century. Thereafter it was used as a prison and for military purposes. When the Castle was captured by the Swiss in 1536, it became a depot, armory, and residence for the bailiffs. Later in 1798, after the Vaudois Revolution, the Castle became the property of the Canton of Vaud.

In the 14th century, Bonivard, Prior of St. Victor's in Geneva, was chained to a pillar for 4 years until he was freed by the Swiss in 1536. Later, Bonivard was immortalized by the poet Byron in his poem The Prisoner of Chillon. Today the Castle draws tourists even with its high admission fee.

The Chillon Castle sits alone on a small stone island. A draw bridge is the only connecting point to land. Wes enjoyed walking through the castle. Masami didn't. You'll need to decide for yourself whether the CHF 7.50 (approx. US$5) fee is worthwhile.

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