Bonmont Abbey is a former Cistercian monastery in Chéserex. The abbey was founded between 1110 and 1120. The oldest surviving document mentioning the abbey is a deed of gift from the lords of Divonne and Gingins in 1131.
In 1131, the foundation stone of the abbey church was laid. Construction continued until the end of the 12th century. The church was built during the transition from Romanesque to Gothic architecture and includes elements of both styles. The original architecture was kept simple and sober, according to the strict rules of the Benedictine Order and in accordance with the desires of the Cistercians. However, the simple design of the church and the simplicity of monastic life were quickly replaced by wealth. Numerous donations enlarged the possessions of the abbey and created ties between the monks and the local nobility. The area owned by the abbey stretched from the foot of the Jura to the Côte de Nyon and up to Aubonne. Under the protection of the House of Savoy in the 13th century, Bonmont Abbey was one of the richest monasteries in the Lake Geneva area.
As the worldly wealth of the abbey increased, the strict rules of the Cistercians loosened. From the 14th century the church was decorated in vibrant colors, ocher yellow or black floral motifs, and also paintings, in disregard of the old rule that churches interiors should be covered in white lime plaster only. There was also a significant structural change: in 1488 the humble roof turret was replaced by a massive tower over the transept.
With the conquest of Vaud by Bern and the Reformation the abbey was secularized in 1536. The monastic buildings were converted into agricultural ones or were demolished. The abbey church was converted for practical use: the wood flooring was torn up and used to create a wine warehouse on the ground floor and a granary above in the nave of the church. In the north transept, a cheese factory was established and in the south, a bakery. Just below the chancel arch there was room for a small chapel, which remained in operation. Because the church was put to secular use, it was saved from demolition. In 1761 the interior of the church was completely remodeled.
The old hospital of the abbey remained in operation after the dissolution of the monastery until 1672. It was replaced in 1736 with a castle that housed the bailiwick administrative office. Following the Vaud Revolution in 1798, the abbey buildings became the property of the state, falling into private ownership in 1802. In 1820 the church was dramatically transformed. Two new entrances, one with a pointed arch and the other with a rounded arch, were built into the fifth bay of the southern side of the nave and the second bay of the northern side. Above the bakery a two-story residence was added.
In 1942 the church was declared a National Monument. In 1982 it became the property of the Canton of Vaud, which carried out a thorough restoration that ended in 1995. The Bernese bailiwick castle and the castle grounds are still privately owned.References:
The Seaplane Harbour is the newest and one of the most exciting museums in Tallinn. It tells stories about the Estonian maritime and military history. The museum’s display, that comprises of more than a couple of hundred large exhibits, revitalizes the colourful history of Estonia.
British built submarine Lembit weighing 600 tones is the centrepiece of the new museum. Built in 1936 for the Estonian navy, Lembit served in the World War II under the Soviet flag. It remained in service for 75 years being the oldest submarine in the World still in use until it was hauled ashore in 2011. Despite its long history, Lembit is still in an excellent condition offering a glimpse of the 1930s art of technology.
Another exciting attraction is a full-scale replica of Short Type 184, a British pre-World War II seaplane, which was also used by the Estonian armed forces. Short Type 184 has earned its place in military history by being the first aircraft ever to attack an enemy’s ship with an air-launched torpedo. Since none of the original seaplanes have survived, the replica in Seaplane Harbour is the only full-size representation of the aircraft in the whole World.
Simulators mimicking a flight above Tallinn, around-the-world journey in the yellow submarine, navigating on the Tallinn bay make this museum heaven for kids or adventurous adults.
Seaplane Harbour operates in architecturally unique hangars built almost a century ago, in 1916 and 1917, as a part of Peter the Great sea fortress. These hangars are the World’s first reinforced concrete shell structures of such a great size. Charles Lindbergh, the man who performed the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, landed here in 1930s.
On the outdoor area visitors can tour a collection of historic ships, including the Suur Tõll, Europe's largest steam-powered icebreaker.