Chateau ChillonkopieChateau Chillon

One of the Altitude summer camp activities is a visit to the amazing Chateau Chillon on the shores of Lake Geneva. The site has been occupied since the Bronze Ages, and the castle has been modifiedand altered many times over its long history. The position, on its own rocky island, was used by the House of Savoy as early as the 12th Century to control the route along the Rhone Valley and therefore the link between north and south Europe.

It was conquered, along with the rest of the Vaud, by the Bernese in 1536 and has been Swiss ever since.  Its uses have included arsenal, fortress and prison.

One of the most famous visitors was Lord Byron, who wrote the famous poem, The Prisoner of Chillon, after visiting in 1816.  This is based on the life story of François Bonivard (1493-1570), the Prior of Saint-Victor in Geneva. He was kept prisoner by the Savoyards in Chillon because of his opposition to their rule, and was liberated by the Bernese.