L'église de Curtilles. Foto/Photo: TES

The Church of Curtilles and the cultural diversity of Switzerland

Switzerland’s linguistic diversity spans many centuries. Today’s French—and German-speaking borders have been largely defined since 800.

The Italian-speaking areas are partly the result of conquests in 1512/13 (Ticino), partly of alliances with the League of the House of God (Poschiavo (1486) and Bergell (1367) or the Grey/Upper League (Misox (1496) and Calanca (1496)).

The Gotteshausbund, the Grauer/ Oberer Bund and the Zehngerichtenbund formed the Free State of the Three Leagues in 1524 and the Canton of Graubünden in 1803.

Until the 19th century, the Romansh-speaking area was much larger than it is today. Nevertheless, the Romansh-speaking population of around 50,000 is as large as the population of Graubünden around 1800!

Another aspect of this (well-functioning) European Union at the micro level is its remarkable cultural diversity. One indication of this is, for example, the architecture of the Romanesque churches (around 1000-1300).

The book Romanische Switzerland/Suisse romane (Romanesque Switzerland) provides a detailed overview of this well-preserved cultural heritage, which extends across all 26 cantons and four language regions.

The frescoes in the church of Curtilles

One of the many examples is the church in the small village of Curtilles on the La Broye (canton of Vaud). The small village with its long history (Curtilia in 860, Curtilis (1160) or Curtiliis (1453) already had a Romanesque church in 1055, which was rebuilt in the Romanesque style in 1231 by the Bishop of Lausanne.

Further (Gothic) renovations took place in the 14th and 15th centuries, including in the choir.

In addition to this heritage, the small village is also home to the castle from 1542, after its predecessor from 1190 was destroyed by Duke Berthold V of Zähringen (1160-1218).

Curtilles Castle. Photo’s: Glatz&Delachaux, Nyon

(Source and further information: Hans-Rudolf Meier, Romanische Schweiz/Suisse romane, Würzburg 1996; Commune de Curcilles)

Model in the church of Curtilles