Chillon Castle in Switzerland
Amongst the most popular historical tourist attractions in Switzerland is the Chillon Castle (Château de Chillon), which stands on a rocky outcrop along the banks of Lake Geneva. Also referred to as the Water Castle, this architectural masterpiece has been the inspiration of writers and artists, such as Lord Byron, Victor Hugo and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. It continues to capture the imagination of visitors to the ancient site and is well worth adding to your itinerary.
Archeologists have determined that the site on which the castle stands has been inhabited way back since the Bronze Age. Over the years the Chillon Castle has been renovated, adapted and restored. For some four centuries it acted as home to the Counts of Savoy, who used this strategic point as a toll station. Interestingly the earliest document to mention the castle was written in 1150, pointing out that at the time the Savoy family was in control of the trade route along the banks of Lake Geneva. From 1536 the Bernese occupied Chillon Castle, during which period it acted as a fortress, prison and arsenal. During the Vaudois Revolution in 1798, the Bernese departed from Chellon and it eventually came to belong to the Canton of Vaud in 1803.
The whole castle complex includes two circular walls encompassing 25 buildings, along with three courtyards. The Chillon Castle is heavily guarded with watchtowers, a moat, turrets, double ramparts and sentry walk. Underground rooms form a major attraction at the castle. The vast rooms are reminiscent of Gothic cathedrals and have become the place of legends. The impressive Chillon Castle boasts four great halls, where massive banquets were held centuries ago. The Camera Domini was the Duke of Savoy's room and is decorated with spectacular murals. The Chambre Bernoise is an example of the bedrooms of the time, including a four-poster bed, running water, private toilet and heating. Three courtyards can be accessed from the castle entrance; these are the lower courtyard, Castellan’s courtyard and Courtyard of Honor. Finally there is the chapel, which contains paintings that date back to the 14th Century.
Beside the Chillon Castle is a massive vineyard of 12,500 meters squared. The wine has gained some popularity due to the ideal positioning of the vines.
Visitors are welcome to explore the Chillon Castle. Guided tours are also available in the following languages: Chinese (Cantonese or Mandarin), English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish. Travelers will soon discover why Chillon draws so many visitors each year to marvel at its architectural and historical splendor.