Murten / Morat

One of the most beautiful medieval towns of Switzerland, on the shores of Murtensee (Lake of Morat), in front of the Mount Vully vineyards. A place you definitely have to visit!

Murten / Morat

One of the most beautiful medieval towns of Switzerland

Murten (Morat, in French) is located on the southern shores of Lake Morat, between Bern and Lausanne and is the capital of the Lake District of the canton of Fribourg.

This small medieval town lies in the Swiss "Midlands", on the edge of the Great Marsh, on a gentle hill, 450 metres above sea level, in front of the Mount Vully and its beautiful vineyards. A significant past has been well preserved here, such as the castle, the ring wall, the streets and the arcades.

Long long ago, the Celtic and Helvetic tribes appreciated the region's temperate climate and the local countryside's particular charm. Morat is also famous in history for the defeat of Charles the Bold by the Swiss in 1476, allies of the French king Louis XI. The former fortified city, which has kept most of its ramparts and towers, has picturesque charm.

The town's name derives from the Celtic word "moriduno", meaning "lakeside fortress". It was first mentioned in 515 as a defensive place called Muratum. By 1013 the site had a reputation as a fortress. Duke Berchtold IV of Zähringen founded the town in 1159 next to the fortress and, after his death, the German emperor Frederic II recognized Murten as a Free Imperial Town, but in 1255 the city fell under the protection of Count Peter of Savoy.

On June 22, 1476, Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, laid siege to the place in an action known as the Battle of Murten. The town hung on for 13 days but finally was saved by the Bernese army. The enemy's army was destroyed completely — some 10,000 Burgundians were killed. Then, from 1484 on, and for 300 years, Morat was ruled by the two cantons of Bern and Fribourg. In 1803, Napoleon gave the town to the canton of Fribourg.

Well protected by local laws, the medieval town has been preserved until now and Morat is definitely one of the most beautiful medieval town of Switzerland. Have a walk in the streets, on the ramparts and just outside the city walls to dive into the past!

(partly adapted from Wikipedia)

This guide features more places in the same region, check them out!
© 1988-2024
All rights reserved for all countries