Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Chateau de Chillon

I think every little girl at one time has fantasized about being a princess and living in a castle. I must admit the only castle I've come close to is the Cinderella castle at Disneyland. I've always wanted to tour a real castle I've seen in pictures spread across Europe. Today I'm going to blog on a real Swiss castle called Château de Chillon (aka: Chillon Castle).

The Chillon Castle is located on Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) at the eastern end of the lake, 3 km from Montreux, Switzerland.

The castle itself consists of 100 independent buildings. The oldest section of the castle has not been definitively dated, but the oldest record written dates it around 1160 or 1005. Although the Chillon Castle was never taken by siege, it did change ownership through treaties.

I can only imagine the loads of history that surrounds this wonderful structure. Did you know that the Chillon Castle is referenced in a famous poem? The Prisoner of Chillon (1816) was written by Lord Byron who wrote about François de Bonivard, a Genevois monk and politician who was imprisoned there from 1530 to 1536. If you walk down to the dungeon you'll find his name engraved in one of the pillars.

by Lord Byron

Eternal Spirit of the chainless Mind !
Brightest in dungeons, Liberty ! thou art,
For there thy habitation is the heart ---
The heart which love of thee alone can bind;
And when thy sons to fetters are consign'd ---
To fetters, and the damp vault's dayless gloom,
Their country conquers with their martyrdom,
And Freedom's fame finds wings on every wind.
Chillon ! thy prison is a holy place,
And thy sad floor an altar --- for 't was trod,
Until his very steps have left a trace
Worn, as if thy cold pavement were a sod,
By Bonnivard ! May non those marks efface !
For they appeal from tyranny to God.

Today the Chillon Castle is used for elegant banquets and also hosts as a museum. Many tourist can tour the castle which is full of historical objects. I don't know about you but I'm sold. Here is a link to the castle and you'll see pictures of the banquet hall. Out of this world!!!

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