Montcherand, site clunisien. Photo/Foto: TES.

The Heritage of Cluny

In the year 1000, the abbey of Cluny managed hundreds of monasteries in Europe, some of them in Switzerland. Founded in 910 and destroyed during the French Revolution, the abbey was an important religious, artistic, economic and political power until the 13th century.

The European network transcended political and linguistic boundaries and became a model for religious society. Cluny has left an immense and diverse heritage, spread over hundreds of places, including Switzerland. These (cultural) locations are located in the French-speaking part.

The French-speaking Kingdom of Burgundy (888-1032) also covered today’s French-speaking Switzerland and was closely linked to Cluny. Two monasteries, Romainmôtier and Payerne, were donated to Cluny by two royal women.

Princess Adelheid (870-929), sister of King Rudolf I of Burgundy (859-912), decided to give the monastery of Romainmôtier to the monks of Cluny.

Empress Adelheid (931-999), daughter of King Rudolf II (880-937), married to the German King Otto II, was crowned empress in Rome in 962 when Otto was crowned emperor. She donated the monastery in Payerne to Cluny.

In western Switzerland, there are also locations of Cluny in Bassins, Bursins, Mollens, Montcherand, Baulmes, Bevaix, Corcelles, Twann-Ile Saint-Pierre, Münchenwiler, Rüeggisberg and Rougemont.

Discovering and understanding this culture and history is also relevant for the perception of present-day Switzerland. (Source and further information: La Fédération Européenne des Sites Clunisiens (FESC),