Local History

L'église protestante de Château-d´Oex. Photo/Foto: TES.

Le Pays-d´Enhaut Region

Until 1555, the Pays-d´Enhaut region belonged to the Counts of Gruyère. After their bankruptcy, the region was ruled by Bern (the city also brought the Reformation to the area) until 1803, when it was assigned to the new canton of Vaud by the Mediations Act (Mediationsakte). The three main villages are Rougemont, Château-d´Oex and Rossinière and smaller villages such as Flendruz, Gérignoz, Le Pré, Les Moulins and La Tine. Château-d´Oex owes its name to the old castle of the Counts of Gruyères, although the castle is gone, its name lives on. The region is known for its beautiful chalets, the regional Parc Gruyères d´Enhaut, cheese production and its four (Romanesque) churches. The protestant Church in Château-d´Oex was restored after the great fire of 1800 and still defines the skyline of the village. The church was rebuilt in the 15th century for the first time. The other (Romanesque) churches are located in Rossinière (13th century), Rougemont (1080) and L´Etivaz (15th century). The arrival of the railway changed life and tourism forever, including the building of the (wooden) stations.

The wooden houses are the most spectacular cultural heritage, however. Local people used the term chalet to refer to buildings on the Alpine structures, but tourists have called all wooden houses chalets since the 19th century. The chalets on the Alpine structures were the homes of the farmers in the summer when the herds grazed on different pastures at high altitudes above 1600-1800 metres. The farmer and the cattle over-wintered in the villages. The alpine pastures give the cheese its highly appreciated taste and quality. Le Borjoz (1604), le Grand Chalet (1754), Clos Fleuri (1600), l´Hotel de Ville (1645), la Maison de la Place (1664) in Rossinière, Les Foisses (1705), Hôtel de Commune (1709), La Cotze (1654), la Maison du Cordier (1655), les Clématites (1647), les Arolles (1701) in Rougemont, la Vielle Cure des Poses (1551) and la Maison des Monnaires (1753) in Château-d´Oex are just a few examples of this rich heritage. Wood has always been at work in this region and the local museum in Château-d´Oex, le musée du Pays d´Enhaut, shows this architecture and other art of the region. (Source and further information: www.chateau-doex.ch).