Chillon Castle (France: Château de Chillon) is located on the shore of Lake Geneva in the commune of Veytaux, at the eastern end of the lake, 3 km from Montreux, Switzerland. The castle consists of 100 independent buildings that were gradually connected to become the building as it stands now.
The first written
record of the castle is in 1160 or 1005, although, according to some sources,
the first fortification on the site of the present Chillon Castle was built
around the 9th century. Its goal was to protect the road running from Avenches
to Italy through the pass Grand-Saint-Bernard along Lake Geneva.
|This is a file from Wikimedia Commons, Author Bolla Ugo, License|
In 1150, Chillon Castle, the property of the Bishop of Sion, which he expanded, becomes home Counts of Savoy. Counts originated from the region Savoy in France. Counts originated from the region Savoy (Savoy) in France. Over time, they became the rulers of almost the whole Italy, but their influence was more due to political intrigues and successful weddings than due to military success.
In 1230 Thomas I of Savoy (Thomas Ier de Savoie) moved his residence to Chillon. In 1253, Pierre II of Savoy (Pierre II Comte de Savoie, 1203-1268) became the owner of Chillon Castle. During his reign, the architect Pierre Meunier (Pierre Mainier) spent restructuring Chillon and the castle acquired its present size and type. Active restructuring of the castle lasted until the 15th century. It was during this period were built the main structures that shaped the historical appearance of the castle.
|This photo of Chateau de Chillon is courtesy of TripAdvisor|
The most famous prisoner of the castle was the prior of the monastery of St. Victor in Geneva François de Bonivard (1493-1570), a supporter of the Reformation, and the enemy of the Counts of Savoy which were the adherents of the Catholic Church. In 1532, on the orders of Charles III, Count of Savoy (1486-1553), Bonivar was thrown into a dungeon of Chillon Castle and spent "without charge or trial" for four years, chained to a post.
March 29, 1536 after a two-day siege the castle was taken by the Bern's protestants, and Bonivare was released. The priest survived many of his associates, who were executed or died, unable to endure the torture of hunger and deprivation. Jailers threw their bodies into the lake through special loopholes in the walls.
In the summer of 1816, Lord George Gordon Byron (1788-1824) heard the story of Bonivare, visited the castle and, shocked by what he saw, wrote the poem "The Prisoner Of Chillon" (1816). This contributed to the Chillon Castle has become one of most popular attractions in Switzerland. Byron also started the curious tradition: he carved his name on a pillar in the dungeon.
As soon as St. Bernarskyy mountain pass began to give way in importance to St. Gotthard mountain pass, located east Shilona, the importance of the castle, as a defensive building, gradually fell, and it was often used only as a place of imprisonment.
In 1835, Chillon Castle converted into a warehouse cannons for that were expanded the aisles and demolished some parts of the walls.
In 1844 one of the floors of the castle was given as a prison for political prisoners. In the castle, were upgraded rooms to bring them in line with modern standards.
In 1887, was created the "Association du Château de Chillon". Through the efforts of the Association and the Canton of Vaud castle was restored and became a museum and the example of an impregnable fortress of the Middle Ages.
In 1891, the castle gets the status of "Monument Historique".
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Chillon is currently open to the public for visits and tours. According to the castle website, Chillon is listed as "Switzerland's most visited historic monument". Many famous writers from around the world have visited Chillon and left their autographs in the castle. Already in the beginning of 19th century it happened every year about 100,000 visitors in the castle. From the 14th century, castle practically unchanged and continues to delight all visitors with its medieval architecture.
In the preparation of this article, were mainly used materials of websites: www.wikipedia.org, www.chillon.ch/en/,