Palaces, manors and town halls in Switzerland

Federal Palace of Switzerland

The Federal Palace (Bundeshaus) in Bern houses the Swiss Federal Assembly (legislature) and the Federal Council (executive). It has a total length of more than 300 metres consisting of a central assembly building and two wings housing government departments and a library. The building was designed by the architect Hans Wilhelm Auer and constructed between 1894 and 1902.
Founded: 1902 | Location: Bern, Switzerland

Palais de Rumine

On his death, Gabriel de Rumine, son of Russian nobility, left the city of Lausanne 1.5 million Swiss Francs to erect a building for the use of the public. Building began in 1892 according to the design of the Lyonnais architect Gaspard André. The building was inaugurated on the 3 November 1902, although building work continued until 1904. On 24 July 1923, the Treaty of Lausanne was signed in Palais de Rumine. ...
Founded: 1892-1904 | Location: Lausanne, Switzerland

Palace of Nations

The Palace of Nations is the home of the United Nations Office at Geneva. It was built between 1929 and 1938 to serve as the headquarters of the League of Nations. The palace was at the time of completion the second-largest building complex in Europe after Versailles. The Palace is located in Ariana Park, which was bequeathed to the City of Geneva in 1890 by Gustave de Revilliod de la Rive, on several conditions: ...
Founded: 1929-1938 | Location: Geneva, Switzerland

Schadau Palace

Schadau Palace is situated in the Schaudaupark, and was built between 1846 and 1854 according to the plans of Pierre-Charles Dusillon in the Gothic Revival style, for the banker Abraham Denis Alfred de Rougemont Since 1925 the castle has belonged to the city of Thun and contains a restaurant and the Swiss Gastronomy Museum. Between 1972 and 1992 the façade of the castle was renovated by the city"s own quarrym ...
Founded: 1846-1854 | Location: Thun, Switzerland

Stockalper Palace

The Stockalper Palace built between 1658 and 1678 by Kaspar Stockalper, a silk merchant of Brig. It was the largest private construction in Switzerland at the time. The first building on the site is known as the Stockalper House, which was built in 1532 by Peter Stockalper. Over the following century it was expanded toward the north, but it remained generally unchanged until the rise of Kaspar Stockalper. Kaspar Stocka ...
Founded: 1658-1678 | Location: Brig, Switzerland

Château Gütsch

The Gütsch is a hill in the west of the city of Lucerne. A long time ago guard fires burned here to warn the city in times of war or other dangers. The Gütsch Tower was built in 1590 as the end point of the city fortifications and remained in existence until a fire in 1888. In 1859 Burkhard Pfyffer bought the land from the town and was granted the right to run an inn on the Gütsch. The inn was bought by Ignaz Businge ...
Founded: 1859-1901 | Location: Lucerne, Switzerland

Arenenberg

Arenenberg is a small chateau at the shore of Lake Constance in Thurgau, Switzerland that is famous as the final domicile of Hortense de Beauharnais. Today it houses the Napoleonmuseum. Arenenberg was built in the early 16th century by the mayor of Constance (1546–48) Sebastian Geissberg. The estate saw a number of owners. In 1817, Johann Baptist von Streng sold it to the exiled Hortense de Beauharnais, the d ...
Founded: 1546 | Location: Salenstein, Switzerland

Schloss Ebenrain

Schloss Ebenrain is a former country residence in Sissach. Built in 1774-1776, it is considered the most significant late baroque residence in northwestern Switzerland. It is now a public facility and the site of an agricultural school. Schloss Ebenrain was built as a summer residence for the wealthy Basel silk ribbon manufacturer and trader Martin Bachofen and his family. The Basel architect Samuel Werenfels desig ...
Founded: 1774-1776 | Location: Sissach, Switzerland

Waldegg Castle

The Baroque Waldegg Castle castle was built in 1682-86 as the summer home for Schultheiss Johann Viktor von Besenval (1638-1713) and his wife Maria Margaritha von Sury (1649—1713). His son, Johann Viktor II (1671-1736) was a diplomat and an officer in the French Swiss Guards. After he inherited the castle he had it renovated (1729-34), adding a theater and the chapel of St. Michael, and decorated in the current French ...
Founded: 1682-1686 | Location: Feldbrunnen-St.Niklaus, Switzerland

Hauteville Palace

In 1733, Jacques-Philippe d"Herwarth acquired the lands that included the municipalities of Saint-Légier and La Chiésaz. He merged them in with the estate of Hauteville which he already owned. The castle was built on the estate in the 1760s.
Founded: 1760s | Location: Saint-Légier-La Chiésaz, Switzerland

Castelmur Palace

The Palazzo Castelmur was built in 1723 for Johannes Redolfi. Around 1850 Baron Giovanni de Castelmur (1800-1871), a descendent of the Castelmur family from the nearby Castelmur Castle bought the Palazzo as well as the ruins of Castelmur Castle in Bondo. Giovanni was the son of a wealthy Marseille pastry shop owner, who after becoming a successful businessman returned to his family"s ancestral village. At the age of ...
Founded: 1723 | Location: Bregaglia, Switzerland

Blumenstein Manor

The Régence style Blumenstein manor house was built in 1725-1728 for the governor Franz Heinrich von Stäffis-Mollondin in the center of a 20 hectares terraced park. After Franz Heinrich"s death in 1749 the estate passed to his son Joseph Lorenz von Stäffis-Mollondin. When Joseph died in 1758 without an heir the Stäffis-Mollondin family ended and the estate was divided between his daughters Johanna Karolina Anop ...
Founded: 1725-1728 | Location: Solothurn, Switzerland

Thunstetten Manor

Thunstetten castle manor was built as a country manor house in the Bernese Oberaargau in 1711 to 1713 or 1713 to 1715. The castle was built for the Landvogt Hieronymus von Erlach following plans by the architect Joseph Abeille. The castle remained with the Erlach family until 1746. From 1746 until 1971 it had numerous owners. In 1971 the Stiftung Schloss Thunstetten (Thunstetten Castle Foundation) took over management of ...
Founded: 1711 | Location: Thunstetten, Switzerland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Luxembourg Palace

The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.

The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.

In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.

During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.

Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.

The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.

During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.