Monday, April 13, 2009

Chateau de Chillon

Located on the shores of Lac Leman (Lake Geneva) in Montreux, Switzerland, the rock on which Chateau de Chillon is built has been occupied since the Bronze Age. The islet fortress was held first by the Bishops of Sion and later by the Counts of Savoy from the beginning of the 12th century. Those who controlled the castle also controlled the access by travellers from Italy north into what is modern day Switzerland. The castle was captured in 1536 by the Swiss . In 1798 it became the property of the Canton of Vaud. Restoration work began at the end of the 19th century.

In 1816 Lord Byron and his friend Percy Shelley were sailing on Lac Leman (the French name for Lake Geneva) when they stopped to tour Chateau de Chillon. After walking through the dungeon Byron was inspired to write his sonnet, "The Prisoner of Chillon" chronicling the imprisonment of a Genovois monk, Francois de Bonivard from 1530 to 1536. Bonivard, the Prior of St. Victor's, Geneva, was chained to the in the dungeon of the fortress because he spoke out in favor of the Reformation and the independence of Geneva.

Bryon carved his name into a dungeon pillar.


My hair is grey, but not with years, Nor grew it white In a single night, As men's have grown from sudden fears: My limbs are bow'd, though not with toil, But rusted with a vile repose, For they have been a dungeon's spoil, And mine has been the fate of those To whom the goodly earth and air Are bann'd, and barr'd-forbidden fare; But this was for my father's faith I suffer'd chains and courted death; That father perish'd at the stake For tenets he would not forsake;

You can read the entire poem here.


my poster

17 comments:

  1. Great history...I had no idea that Byron wrote the poem there!

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  2. That photograph is stunning! I wish I lived near a view like that. Didn't know they story either,...very interesting!

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  3. OHhhhhhh...did you know that I LOVE Percy Bysshe Shelley?? I recently blogged about him. Sweeet! :)

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  4. Really interesting stuff, Stevie. And I especially like the bored little Easter Bunny on your sidebar!

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  5. What a beautiful place! Loved the story!

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  6. Oh how could I forget this water castle at the borders of Lac Leman. Tks for this voyage to one of my most fave spots as helped me to remember my travels in Swiss beauty.

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  7. Ahhhh, I know this castle very well. In fact I have been walking pass it on numerous occasions, even visited it once. My sister lives on the shores of Lake Geneva and she used to live only a stone throw away from the fairytale like place a few years back.;))
    Beautiful post and poem.;)))

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  8. i like byron's work a lot, great post.and look at that cutiepatootie's little easter outfit... aaw could just 'eat him up'...

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  9. What a great poster -- what a great story -- my first visit but it won't be my last.

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  10. I could drift away into that photo!...lovely...and I love your poster too...do you collect posters as well as game pieces?

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  11. Hello everyone! Thanks Martha for not making the first visit to my blog your last.

    Oliag, I collect anything and everything that strikes my fancy, but this poster was a souvenir from a visit to the castle 9 or 10 years ago.

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  12. Fascinating story and touching poem! That area changed hands so often through the centuries very much like Southern Italy. Did you take that photgraph of the castle, Stevie? It's gorgeous! Almost looks like a fairy tale castle, and it's amazing erosion hasn't caused damage to it.
    I visited Lake Lugano in Switzerland about 37 years ago. The lake regions in Europe are always so beautiful.

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  13. Pat, I wish but no, I got this photo from Google images. The sun wasn't as bright and it was sort of hazy the day I was there.

    I looked up Lake Lugano....wow! We drove along Lake Maggiore for a short while on our way from Austria to Montreux (it's my only claim to visiting Italy).

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  14. How interesting! Fascinating graffiti left on the wall. Thank you for the info and how nice you were able to visit there.

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  15. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Joannah

    http://keyboardpiano.net

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  16. OMG I co-curated a show with a photo of the Chateau in is. We also had a beautiful painting from tthe same spot. I'll have to go look it up.

    Byron rocks and I think I would've had a crush on him if I had ever met him.

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  17. stupid head you moron!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I'm glad you stopped by and I look forward to your comments. As Dr. Fraser Crane would say, "Hello, I'm listening."