Started at the end of the 15th century, between 1476 and 1482, the construction of St-Maurice castle took place in several stages.  They began by building a tower with doors, then a crenellated enclosure and guard towers. This led to the construction of the main body of the building and, at the beginning of the 16th century, a large retaining wall to which a new tower with a large ogival door was added.

A fire destroyed the city and St-Maurice castle simultaneously in 1693.  It was completely and quickly rebuilt to remain over time, the region’s seat of power.

It has been used as the governor’s headquarters, a guard and customs post, and between the 18th and 19th centuries an orphanage, an asylum for the elderly, a military school, a lodging for troops or a prison.  During the 20th century it became less active but more open to the general public with, after a major refurbishment in the 70s, the function of Valais cantonal military museum.

The castle is now a venue for receptions of the State Council of Valais and an exhibition space dedicated to drawings, newspaper cartoons and comic strips.  Like a nod to the famous painter Turner (1775-1851) who one day stopped in front of the castle to do a romantic painting.

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Gruyères Castle

The Castle of Gruyères is one of the most famous in Switzerland. It was built between 1270 and 1282, following the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. It was the property of the Counts of Gruyères until the bankruptcy of the Count Michel in 1554. His creditors the cantons of Fribourg and Bern shared his earldom. From 1555 to 1798 the castle became residence to the bailiffs and then to the prefects sent by Fribourg.

In 1849 the castle was sold to the Bovy and Balland families, who used the castle as their summer residency and restored it. The castle was then bought back by the canton of Fribourg in 1938, made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.

The castle is the home of three capes of the Order of the Golden Fleece. They were part of the war booty captured by the Swiss Confederates (which included troops from Gruyères) at the Battle of Morat against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1476. As Charles the Bold was celebrating the anniversary of his father's death, one of the capes is a black velvet sacerdotal vestment with Philip the Good's emblem sewn into it.

A collection of landscapes by 19th century artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and others are on display in the castle.