Château de Tourbillon, Sion, Switzerland

Sion and its castles. The topography of Sion is peculiar: situated in the middle of the valley of the Rhone, the city is dotted with hills. They have always been occupied by men who have made them observation sites and defensive sites.

Valère is more a fortified village than a castle. Since the beginning of the Middle Ages and up until the end of the XVIIIth century, it was the seat of the Venerable Chapter of the cathedral church. The chapter formed the bishop’s council and ensured the smooth running of the diocese. In the Middle Ages the Chapter was comprised of around thirty canons but they did not live communally. Each had his own house. Therefore, the buildings leading to the church were used as places to live and formed a small town.

The undulating relief of the hill and various fortifications (outer walls, corner towers, interior doors, etc.) limited access to the site in general and to the religious building in particular, the final defensive enclave. A number of facilities such as a water butt, which is still visible with its pointed roof, and a grain mill, enabled the site’s inhabitants to be self-sufficient.

Visit Switzerland. Epic Switzerland Adventure Route © Monika Newbound

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