Renowned for its beauty and ranking among the best-preserved of medieval European castles, Chillon Castle is a medieval fortress on the shores of Lake Geneva. It was the seat of the powerful Counts of Savoy until 1536, when Bernese troops seized it. Later, the castle was a source of inspiration for writers and poets.
At the Marian shrine of Oberbüren (Canton of Bern), the medieval Catholic Church offered some very special services: children who were stillborn or had died at birth were briefly brought back to life so that they could be baptised and then properly buried.
The Castles of Bellinzona count among the most outstanding examples of heavy military architecture in the Alpine region. Because they safeguarded access to the Alpine passes, these late-medieval castles were of considerable value to the Duchy of Milan and coveted by the Old Swiss Confederation.
Ill-matched adversaries from the same corner of the country. In 1386, erstwhile ‘neighbours’ faced each other on the battlefield at Sempach. The age of knights and castles was coming to an end. The future belonged to the burgeoning cities and towns.
The plague epidemic in the Middle Ages, and its aftermath, readily invites comparison with the coronavirus pandemic. In his fascinating account of the ‘Great Plague’, however, historian Volker Reinhardt also warns of the limitations of such comparisons.