Swiss Opulance - any suggestions?

Old Sep 27th, 2000, 06:10 PM
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Swiss Opulance - any suggestions?

My family and I are planning a trip to Switzerland next summer, and the only thing missing from our itinerary is a truly ornate church or gilded palace. Any suggestions where we can "go for the gold?"

By the way we have already seen most of the palaces and churches in Austria in Germany, so a border crossing in that direction is probably not in the cards.
Old Sep 27th, 2000, 07:55 PM
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I just came back from a trip to Switzerland, great beautiful place, but expensive. Lucern is a great place for you, lot of history and even Bren.
Language wise you can manage with English, but I have a suggestions, check, they have basic travel related phrases.
Have a safe trip
Old Sep 27th, 2000, 11:40 PM
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How about the cathedral in Basel ?

Old Sep 28th, 2000, 03:55 AM
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The pilgrimage church in Einsiedeln certainly numbers among the more gilded glories in Europe. Einsiedeln is near Luzern.

The Jesuitenkirche in Luzern is worth a look as well.

Old Sep 28th, 2000, 04:11 AM
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As usual, Ed's got the good goods. Be sure to check out his website, one of the best personal travel journals on the net. Anyway, I have only ignorance in this area, so I spent a few minutes looking at the Swiss National Tourism Website for some ideas ( I checked under "200 Excursions" and found "Culture/Museums" subgroup. That led me to a menu with these suggestions: a church in Basel; the baroque church in Einsiedeln; a gothic church in Fribourg; a baroque church in Solothurn, and a "Romanesque" church in Zillis. You might also post this question at the "Forum" section at -- which may be misnamed. Most of the folks who respond there are staff of the National Tourism office. I've also found that folks at various Swiss tourist offices are exceptionally good at resonding to e-mail requests, and you have plenty of time for them to mail you specific information.

Good luck!

Old Sep 28th, 2000, 10:05 AM
wes fowler
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Opulent architecture and design in Switzerland? Hardly likely! You must remember, first of all, that Switzerland has had a federal structure dating from its confederation in the 13th century. Despite invasions by Austria, France and Spain and occupations by the Houses of Habsburg and Savoy, none of the occupiers left significant evidence of their architectural traditions. Switzerland has never been a "princely" state. The few castles in Switzerland are monolithic fortresses rather than pleasure palaces such as Versailles, Schonbrunn and the Hofburg. You can find two such fortresses in Champvent and Grandson near Yverdon-les-Bains at the southern end of Lac de Neuchatel. There's also a 15th century Italianate castle, Castello Grande, in Bellinzona; it too is monolithic rather than opulent.

Religious architecture in Switzerland is predominantly Romanesque or Gothic. The Romanesque churches having predominantly austere interiors. You might explore the Gothic Notre Dame in Lausanne with its magnificent stained glass or the Minster in Basel for the statuary at its portals. The Minster is intriguing architecturally since it combines both Romanesque and Gothic themes.

Since you referred to Germany and Austria, I presume your sense of opulence is based in part on places such as Wieskirche near Steingaden, Bavaria, the abbey churches in Ettal and Rottenbuch and the Asam church, St. John Nepomuk, in Munich. You'll find similar south German Baroque decoration in the Benedictine Abbey in Rheinau about halfway between Schaffhausen and Andelfingen.

To really feel at home in Baroque opulence, visit the Benedictine Abbey and church at Einsiedeln. There you'll find opulence created by the minds and hands of the Asam brothers of Munich.

Now, for something different. One of the premiere, innovative architects of the 20th century was the Swiss, Le Corbusier. There's little of his work of interest in Switzerland however in Ronchamp, France, about 70kms west of Basel on route E54 (N19) you'll find his Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haut sitting high on a hilltop dominating the landscape. It's a stunning architectural accomplishment.

Finally, the most distinctive architecture you'll find in Switzerland is that of the farmhouse, particularly those farmhouses of the Emmental Valley. Be sure to search them out.
Old Sep 28th, 2000, 10:23 AM
richard j vicek
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Good afternoon, Ned
My vote would be the Benedictine Abbey at Einsiedeln. Was more than extremely
impressed with it, actually spent two
days there about four years ago. surf
in to It is about
a one hour trip out of Zurich.
Richard of La Grange Park, IL.
Old Sep 28th, 2000, 04:12 PM
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Ah, swandav jogs my memory. His suggestion of the Solothurn church (St. Ours (St. Urs in German?) as I recall) is right on. Solothurn, in any event, is much under-visited and quite worth a half day or more. Short note and link to more info on the city at


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