Back to the past through the Old Town of Geneva
1. Dufour equestrian statue
Général Dufour equestrian statue. Born in 1787, Guillaume-Henri Dufour became commander-in-chief of the Swiss army, founded a military academy, modernised the country’s defences, reconstructed Geneva’s ports and quays, taught hydrology, geodes and geometry at the University, and set up geodetic and triangulation surveys to produce complete maps of Switzerland’s mountainous surface which are still usable. He became a member of the Committee of Five of the Red Cross and chaired the international meetings which approved of the first and second Geneva Conventions.
3. Le Mur des Réformateurs
Le Mur des Réformateurs, constructed in 1917 from granite and quartz, 100 metres long and 10 metres high, it was designed to commemorate the events and the men of the Christian religious reform movement. At its centre are statues of four men who played a key role: Farel, Calvin, Bèze and Knoz.
6. Le Palais de Justice
Le Palais de Justice. Situated in la Place du Bourg-de-Four, an ancient Roman forum, and one of the liveliest centres of Genevan life today. This building was constructed between 1707 to 1712 over a former convent of the order of St. Clare. At the Reformation it became a hospital. It is one of the most beautiful buildings in Geneva. In the first courtyard there is an attractive fountain from 1709.
7. The Town Hall
The Town Hall dates from sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The oldest part, the Baudet Tower, the Baudet Tower, was constructed in 1455. In the courtyard, a square tower containing a paved ramp and ribbed vault leads to the upper floors. This ramp once enabled important officials to attend meeting on horseback or in a litter of sedan chair. The portal at the bottom of the ramp is in Renaissance style, and formerly served as an entrance to the Maison de Ville. On the ground floor there are several rooms one of which is called the ALABAMA room. There, on 22nd August 1864, the first Red Cross convention known as the Geneva Convention was signed. To the right of the entrance there is a stone bench where Genevan courts gave their verdicts and it is here that Jean-Jacques Rousseau was sentenced.
12. L'Hôtel Résident de France
Hôtel du Résident de France, 11 de la Grand’Rue. The architecture is in the Louis XIV style.
13. Au n°9 de la rue Calvin
At 9 rue Calvin stands the house of the Jacques Necker family, a financier of German origin who was a citizen of Geneva when Louis XVI appointed him as his finance minister and made him a baron. This is probably the first town house built in Geneva with a courtyard and garden. On the first floor, the very beautiful Louis XVI room.
15. La Cathédrale St-Pierre
St-Pierre Cathedral. The present building followed a succession of Roman sanctuaries, a small fourth century basilica and a large church built around 515. Construction of the Cathedral in Roman and Gothic styles began about 1160 and was virtually completed by 1232. The entrance facade dates from the eighteenth century and is neoclassical in style. Visits are possible to the archaeological site on the right of the main entrance (5 francs). It is also possible to climb to the top of one of the Cathedral’s towers where you can get a panoramic view over the whole of Geneva.
16. House Tavel
Maison Tavel, the oldest private residence in Geneva, built on foundations dating from the ninth century and reconstructed in 1334 after a fire which destroyed nearly half of the town. It is characterised by its round tower, mullioned windows, frames, and sculptures including ten human and animal heads. A niche sculpted over a window on the ground floor depicts the Arms of the Tavel family, Genevan nobles who gave their name of this house. Inside, the tastefully restored rooms and cellars give a good indication of Genevan history from the 14th to the 19th century. This historic building houses the Museum of Old Geneva.
17. Ancien Arsenal
Ancien Arsenal. This building with its vast archways dates from 1632 and for long served as an arsenal, hence its name. Today, it houses the archives of Geneva. Beneath the arches are five ancient canon which were taken to Vienna by the Austrians in 1814 but later returned to the Republic of Geneva. On the wall at the rear three mosaics depict, from left to right, the arrival of Julius Caesar in Geneva, markets in the fourteenth century and Protestant refugees being welcomed.
20. La Rue de la Coraterie
There was a riding school with all the trades linked to horse breeding including the “Corratiers” who were horse dealers. During the fairs, the horse market was held in this street which was called “Carreria corrateriae equorum.”The name Corraterie can be applied to both brokerage proper and horse racing.
22. The Conservatory of music
The Conservatory of music, built in 1856 by the affluent music-loving Bartholoni family.