Little remains of Nyon’s Roman past. Apart from the Roman museum, a few Roman items can be seen around Nyon. Some decorative stones were used in later buildings but the most visual are the pillars erected above Parc du Bourg-de-Rive. These three pillars (well two and a third pillars) were discovered buried horizontally in old town Nyon and moved to overlook Lake Geneva in 1958. Here, they can easily be seen by travelers arriving by boat or by car from the Geneva direction. These Roman pillars vie with Chateau de Nyon to be the symbol of Nyon.
To the east of Nyon’s old town, the foundation of the Roman amphitheater was discovered in 1996. The ruins are not in a particularly good condition and although covered to prevent further erosion, no immediate plans (or financing) are in place to preserve these Roman ruins completely.
The Roman Museum (Musée Romain) in Nyon explains the Roman heritage of Nyon and is located inside the foundations of the former Roman basilica. Apart from the Roman foundations, the museum has many Roman-era articles on display as well as numerous models that explain Roman buildings and structures.
Nyon’s written history started around 45 BCE when during the times of Julius Caesar the Roman town Noviodunum, which was an important town in the Roman Colonia Iulia Equestris, was founded on the shores of Lake Geneva. The Roman presence lasted until around 400 AD but Nyon remained occupied by humans without interruption.
The Roman Museum in Nyon is located inside the foundations of a first-century Roman basilica. Apart from the exposed foundations, numerous Roman items from the region are on display. These include the mainstays of many Roman museums in Europe such as stones of various functions engraved in Roman letters and numerals, odd bits of statues, remains of mosaics, pots, and jewelry.
Scale models illustrate what the Roman forum complex in Nyon must have looked like while further models illustrate various other aspects of Roman life. A few activity stations for children allow them to explore how a Roman arch is built and how best to load amphorae in a boat.
The museum also gives a broad overview of Roman occupation in what is present-day Switzerland. In Roman times, as in the present, Nyon and nearby Geneva were in completely different administrative regions. Currently, Nyon is in canton Vaud (Waadt) while Geneva is in Genève (Genf).References:
From its origin as a small stronghold built by the ancient Illyrian tribe Dalmatae, becoming a royal castle that was the seat of many Croatian kings, to its final development as a large fortress during the Ottoman wars in Europe, Klis Fortress has guarded the frontier, being lost and re-conquered several times. Due to its location on a pass that separates the mountains Mosor and Kozjak, the fortress served as a major source of defense in Dalmatia, especially against the Ottoman advance, and has been a key crossroad between the Mediterranean belt and the Balkan rear.
Since Duke Mislav of the Duchy of Croatia made Klis Fortress the seat of his throne in the middle of the 9th century, the fortress served as the seat of many Croatia"s rulers. The reign of his successor, Duke Trpimir I, the founder of the Croatian royal House of Trpimirović, is significant for spreading Christianity in the Duchy of Croatia. He largely expanded the Klis Fortress, and in Rižinice, in the valley under the fortress, he built a church and the first Benedictine monastery in Croatia. During the reign of the first Croatian king, Tomislav, Klis and Biograd na Moru were his chief residences.
In March 1242 at Klis Fortress, Tatars who were a constituent segment of the Mongol army under the leadership of Kadan suffered a major defeat while in pursuit of the Hungarian army led by King Béla IV. After their defeat by Croatian forces, the Mongols retreated, and Béla IV rewarded many Croatian towns and nobles with 'substantial riches'. During the Late Middle Ages, the fortress was governed by Croatian nobility, amongst whom Paul I Šubić of Bribir was the most significant. During his reign, the House of Šubić controlled most of modern-day Croatia and Bosnia. Excluding the brief possession by the forces of Bosnian King, Tvrtko I, the fortress remained in Hungaro-Croatian hands for the next several hundred years, until the 16th century.
Klis Fortress is probably best known for its defense against the Ottoman invasion of Europe in the early 16th century. Croatian captain Petar Kružić led the defense of the fortress against a Turkish invasion and siege that lasted for more than two and a half decades. During this defense, as Kružić and his soldiers fought without allies against the Turks, the military faction of Uskoks was formed, which later became famous as an elite Croatian militant sect. Ultimately, the defenders were defeated and the fortress was occupied by the Ottomans in 1537. After more than a century under Ottoman rule, in 1669, Klis Fortress was besieged and seized by the Republic of Venice, thus moving the border between Christian and Muslim Europe further east and helping to contribute to the decline of the Ottoman Empire. The Venetians restored and enlarged the fortress, but it was taken by the Austrians after Napoleon extinguished the republic itself in 1797. Today, Klis Fortress contains a museum where visitors to this historic military structure can see an array of arms, armor, and traditional uniforms.