A document from 1177 from the Abbey of Hauterive mentions the Romont as a wooded hill. In 1239, Anselme (or Nantelme) sold the rights to Romont hill to Peter II of Savoy. At that time, Romont was part of the territory of the Bishop of Lausanne. In 1240, Peter II sent a castellan to Romont to build a castle and found a village. The main castle (Grand Donjon), with a typical Savoy square floor plan, was completed before 1260. The original castle partially collapsed in 1579 and was rebuilt by Fribourg in 1591. Another castle with a round tower, formerly known as the Petit Donjon, but now known as Boyer-tower was built around 1250-1260, most likely by Peter II.
In the 16th century, the new governors from Fribourg built a further wing - now home to the Museum’s collection of reverse painting on glass. The entrance gate to the courtyard and the well also date from that period. The huge wooden draw-wheel for the well (18th century), the parapet walkway, and some lovely old trees lend the courtyard a particular cachet.
The interior of the old castle is equally remarkable: solid sandstone walls and an imposing timber roof-framework stand in interesting contrast to the metal structures of the new orangery, passerelle and stairwell added in 2006 when remodelling the Museum.
Romont Castle provides a perfect setting for the Vitromusée and Vitrocentre. The castle stands at the top of a picturesque hill at an altitude of 780m. Together with the medieval church and houses surrounded by the old town walls, it shapes the distinctive silhouette of the small town of Romont. The square in front of the castle opens onto a magnificent panorama of the Alps, with the majestic Mont Blanc visible to the right on a clear day.
The keep and the main part of the castle - which today houses the Museum’s stained-glass collection - were built in the 13th century under Pierre II of Savoy.References:
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.
Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.
The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.
In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.
In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.