When you look at Geneva, the building that stands out is the cathedral on top of old town. It’s called St. Pierre Cathedral. On your first clear day in Geneva, go to the top and enjoy the view. In addition to the stellar view, the building’s history tells you a lot about the city of Geneva.
They’ve started excavating underneath St. Pierre Cathedral and found Roman ruins* (visit the archaeological site to learn more). The site was continuously occupied until the current building was built in the 12th century. Back then, it was a Catholic church. When the reformation arrived, it became a center of the Reformation. The cathedral is best known as Calvin’s home church. They even have his chair inside.
The Reformation brought changes to the building as well. It’s philosophy of austerity impacted the interior of the cathedral. Ornaments were removed; colors were whitewashed. The Calvinists didn’t believe in religious images, so statues, alters, paintings and furniture were out. The windows are just about the only thing they keptCompare this to St. Peter‘s Cathedral in Rome and you can really see the austerity, solemnity and restraint.
To get to the top, you will climb 157 steps up to the North Tower.
Don’t get spooked out by the twisty stairs or the attic-type space, keep heading up.
Don’t stop when confronted by wire cage.
If you continue, you will be rewarded. Aaaahhhh. There it is, that’s the shot you came to get.
*There are Roman ruins throughout Switzerland. I even stumble onto them during my runs (there’s a ruins of a Roman villa in the Parc des Eaux-Vives). We saw them in St. Saphorin and Sion has Roman roots.