The Gothic Cathedral of Notre Dame in Lausanne

The Gothic Cathedral of Notre Dame in Lausanne

The old city of Lausanne holds the churches and cathedrals built in the middle ages, such as the famous Notre Dame Cathedral. The Cathedral is a gem a charming town on the shores of lake Geneva and considered the finest Gothic building in Switzerland, on the same level with the Gothic architecture of France.

Myths and facts

The construction of Notre Dame began in 1175 and in 1275 it was consecrated by Pope Gregory X, although the Cathedral was never completed. Throughout the middle ages, pilgrims flocked to the Cathedral to pray before the Golden virgin, a miraculous statue of the virgin Mary, to whom the Cathedral is dedicated.

Lausanne was one of many medieval towns, protected at night to prevent fires. Every night the Rangers on the high walls surrounding the city, kept no fires and not if the enemy is approaching. The Cathedral was the most important object. The watchman climbed the 153 steps to the top of the tower every hour and shouted at the four sides: “C’est le guet, il a sonné l’heure!” (“It’s a night caretaker, the hour has struck”). Lausanne is the only city in Europe where this tradition continues to this day.

In 1536 the combined forces of the reformation and Bernese army plundered the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, having been stripped of altars, statues, and paintings. The appearance of the virgin Gold melted down for coins. The Treasury of Cathedral, a unique collection of liturgical vestments and tapestries were removed to Bern, where the time is stored in the Museum.

In the XIX century, the architect-restorer eugène violla-Le-Duc started the restoration of the Cathedral. Restoration of the unique architecture of the Cathedral continues today.

What to see

The Cathedral is crowned with towers and spires, the southern facade is riddled with giant Gothic Windows. The facade of the Cathedral is richly decorated with carved sculptures and bas-reliefs. The monumental doors of the Western entrance is decorated with sculptures of biblical characters, saints and bishops.

Inside, visitors first pass through a large, high terrace, reminiscent of the architecture of the cathedrals of England, such as Lincoln and Canterbury. This is no accident – the chief architect of Notre Dame Cathedral, Jean de Cocherel, was half an Englishman.

The interior is decorated in the most elegant and beautiful form of the Gothic style. Despite the fact that many sculptures were exported under an hour of Reformations, some elements of medieval art have been preserved. For example, the original medieval statues of the southern porch (XIII century).

The famous South Rose Window survived from the XIII century, only the Central part is not original. Rose – a round stained-glass window in the South wall of the transverse nave, depicting the popular medieval view of the universe: four seasons, four elements, four winds, four rivers of Paradise and the twelve months and zodiac signs.

South hall is supported by columns that had lost medieval paint. Here is a plain stone altar of the choir of the XIII century and the tomb of the grandson of Otto, a famous medieval knight. In the Notre Dame Cathedral also houses a magnificent organ with seven thousand pipes – the largest organ in Switzerland.

You can climb the stairs of the 225 steps to the observation deck of one of the towers, offering beautiful views of the city and lake Geneva. On the Eastern shore of the lake, near Montreux, Chillon castle is the most recognizable castle of Switzerland, known all over the world. Another treasure you will find in St. Gallen – monastery with an ancient library, where he remained about 170,000 books.

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