Yverdon, le carré savoyard. Photo/Foto: TES.

The Savoyard Castles

Vaud (pagus Waldensis in Latin, Pays de Vaud in French) has been a strategic space since Roman times, situated at the crossroads of major roads connecting northern and southern Europe.

Vaud was part of the ‘first’ kingdom of Burgundy (443-543) after the fall of the Roman Empire, then it came under Merovingian (561-751) and then Carolingian authority (751-843). Under this administration, it became a county, comitatus Waldensis.

From 888 to 1032, the history of Vaud was linked to the ‘second’ kingdom of Burgundy. From the 11th to the 13th century, Vaud was part of the Holy Roman Empire.

The cities were still small, remnants of their heyday in the Roman Empire (including Lausanne (the bishop’s seat), Vevey, Avenches, Moudon, Orbe, Nyon, Yverdon). The Counts of Savoie, since 1416 Duchy of Savoy, controlled Vaud since 1286 by the barony of Vaud, which was owned by a younger branch of Savoy. From 1359 onwards, however, the dukes would have direct control.

With the arrival of Savoie, Vaud underwent major changes in the field of architecture, particularly in the construction of castles.

The so-called carré savoyard is the best-known example, which can still be seen in Vaud. Each wall of the quadrangular castle has towers and turrets at the ends with protruding corners, which can overlook the entire wall.

This new type of castle first appeared in Yverdon around 1258-1265. (Quelle: O. Meuwly and others, Histoire Vaudoise, Lausanne 2015).