Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Prisoner of Chillon

Chillon Castle

As a loyal Denizen, I looked for Castles as we toured Switzerland and Italy. Exploring the local areas of interest from Lausanne, we found the Castle of Chillon, just a short drive along the shore of Lake Geneva. Actually, to be precise, the structure's foundations are the rocks which are just offshore - so that the walls of the Castle rise straight out of the water.

Chillon also has a rich history. In 1350, a man named Fran├žois Bonivard ran afoul of the current Duke of Savoy, and was imprisoned in the dungeons for 6 years - manacled to the 5 pillar. In 1816, Lord Byron visited the Castle, and on hearing the tale, was inspired to write 'The Prisoner of Chillon'. Note, however, that the poem does not recount a true tale, but is fiction.

The Armorer will find it interesting that Bonivard's release in 1356 apparently came "when the Bernese army swept down from the north, briefly bombarded the castle from above with their newfangled mobile artillery, and took control". (From the Chillon history site)

Chillon Castle has been wonderfully renovated, and is very interesting throughout. The tour is self-guided, and takes you through much of the structure, from the dungeons built onto the rock, and up the many steps to the top of the Keep! Some of the halls are filled with various implements of the day - including Pointy Things! (Attn: Neffi!!)

The renovated artworks are wonderful as well - and one hall is devoted to art which relates to the history of the lake, and the region. Many of the rooms were highly decorated, and these have been, or are being, renovated - including the Chapel. All in all, a wonderful visit, indeed!

No - the European tour is not complete yet, but I am now finished sorting the pictures, so hope to get some more posts up with pictures for the enjoyment of the few readers still left!