St. Peterinsel auf einem Plan von Samuel Bodmer, 1709. Archiv des Kantons Bern, Schauenburg-Sammlung 24. Photo/Foto: TES.

St. Peter Island

The island of St. Peter Die (St. Peterinsel, l’île Saint-Pierre) was the largest in Switzerland until the level of Lake Biel (Bielersee) was lowered by more than two metres in the years 1868 and 1875.

The first church was built in the 8th century.  The Romanesque basilica and the monastery were built in the twelfth century.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau went into exile on the island in 1765. The island became a popular destination for emperors, kings, aristocrats, artists and writers afterwards.

Goethe, Cook, Empress Josephine Bonaparte and the kings of Prussia, Sweden and Bavaria were among the visitors.

(source: Archaeological Service of the Canton of Bern).