Lavaux et Vevey. Foto/Photo: TES

The multicultural Town of Vevey and its great Perfomances

The Celts and Romans inhabited the region of Vevey (canton of Vaud) more than 2,000 years ago. En Crédeyles, a Celtic burial site near the (medieval) church of St Martin, and the Roman names Vibiscum or Viviscum (in the Tabula Peutingeriana) show their presence. The place lies at the mouth of the rivers Veveyse and Ognonaz.

Roman inscription

The site was on the Roman roads to and from the Great St Bernard and Martigny (Octodurus), Lausanne (Lousonna), and Avenches (Aventicum). Lake Geneva (Lac Lemanus) was also a busy waterway in the Roman period.

St. Martin Church

After the Roman period, which ended in the first half of the 5th century, Vevey did not appear in documents again until the 12th century. For centuries, the bishops of Sitten and Lausanne, the abbey of St Maurice, the counts of Geneva, the counts of Gruyère, and the dukes of Savoie played a role. Savoy granted the city city rights in the 14th century. The duke also founded the Sainte-Claire convent in 1422.

The former Sainte-Claire convent 

Bern conquered Vevey in 1536 and ruled the town until 1798. Chillon castle was the residence of Bern’s bailiff. The town had no political independence but prospered economically.

Many mills operated water-powered businesses on the banks of the Veveyse and Ognonaz. The location of Lake Geneva and roads to all regions of the Confederation of 13 cantons and neighbouring countries were also good for trade.

Moreover, like the rest of Switzerland, Vevey has always been an international and cosmopolitan (trading) town. French Huguenots, Russians, English and Germans are just some of the many nationalities.

Anonymous artist Vevey 17th century. Collection: Musée historique de Vevey

Just before the French invasion of 1798 and the foundation of the Helvetic Republic (1798-1803), Vevey hosted the first edition of the Fête des Vignerons. This tradition, the Fête, also held in 2019, indicates the centuries-old prominence of viticulture in this region and Lavaux.

A performance of the Fête des Vignerons in the 19th century. Collection: Musée de la Confrérie des Vignerons

The Fête des Vignerons and the Confrérie des Vignerons may not be well known outside Switzerland, but a well-known institution is headquartered in Vevey.

Nestlé’s headquarters

The ‘fork’ in the lake is a remarkable monument, just as the Alimentarium is a culinary and scientific museum that bears witness to Nestlé’s presence. Moreover, chocolate is also closely linked to Vevey.

(Source and further information: Ville de Vevey)

Impressions of Vevey and surroundings

Grand Hotel du Lac

Musée Jenisch

La Grenette (grain market)

Russian-Orthodox Church St. Barbara (1878)

All Saints Church (1882)

La tour-de-Peilz and the Musée Suisse du Jeu, the unique museum of games