→ Religious
/
→ Geneva

⛪ Geneva Saint Peter’s Cathedral

Address
Place du Bourg-de-Four 24, 1204 Genève
Phone 1
Keyword
2018 Sept
  • Date de Visite
    29.09.2018
  • Création
    Dès le 12e siècle
  • Fréquentation
    400'000
  • GPS
    46.20112 6.14851
Logo cathédrale de genève

Geneva Saint Peter’s Cathedral


The Geneva Saint Peter’s Cathedral is, with the Jet d’eau, the emblem of the city of Geneva. It has the particularity of being made up of a porch made of high columns as well as two towers surrounding the choir and a green copper arrow. It is visited each year by about 400,000 people.

The cathedral with its north and south towers surrounding the arrow and the chapel of the Maccabees on the left of the pictures.
The cathedral with its north and south towers surrounding the arrow and the chapel of the Maccabees on the left of the photos. The cathedral with its north and south towers surrounding the arrow and the chapel of the Maccabees on the left of the photos.

The history of the cathedral


The current cathedral is built on the site where Christian religious buildings had been erected for hundreds of years. The major events in the construction of the cathedral are summarized below.

  • 12th century: Beginning of the works under the impulse of the first prince-bishop of Geneva, Arducius de Faucigny and ending in 1230 (without the towers).
  • 15th century: Construction of the Maccabean chapel by Jean de Brogny (Right looking at the entrance).
  • 1510-1530: Construction of the South Tower.
  • 1752-1756: Construction of the neo-classical facade by Benedetto Alfieri.
  • 1895: Installation of the 71-metre high copper boom.
  • 1965: Construction of the great organ.

Access


Geneva has many car parks in its centre, but the Rive and Saint-Antoine car parks are the closest to the cathedral.

The visit of the cathedral


The different parts of the cathedral that can be visited are the neoclassical entrance porch, the cathedral itself, the Chapel of the Maccabees and the two towers. At the entrance to the cathedral on the left are small leaflets describing the particularities of the building in several languages.

The neoclassical porch


It is built to compensate for the instability of the previous gantry.

The porch of Geneva Saint Peter’s Cathedral.
The porch of Geneva Saint Peter's Cathedral.

The inside of the cathedral


The main points of interest inside the cathedral are listed below.

  • The Chair
  • The chapel of Rohan
  • Calvin’s chair
  • The Portuguese Chapel
  • The Chapel of the Holy Spirit
  • The Choir
  • 15th century stalls
  • The plaque commemorating the first ecumenical service after the Second World War
  • The Agrippa Memorial in Auvigné
  • The great organs

The central alley of the cathedral.
The central alley of the cathedral of Geneva

The Chapel of the Maccabees


Chapel with large stained glass windows on the right entering and breaking the symmetry of the structure of Geneva Saint Peter’s Cathedral.

The chapel of the Maccabees.
The Chapel of the Maccabees of Geneva Saint Peter's Cathedral

The two towers


The visit of the north and south towers offers a magnificent view of the city of Geneva. The entrance for this visit is at the choir where you can buy your ticket. (4 francs for an adult and 2 francs for a child from 6 to 16 years old).

A model of the Geneva Saint Peter’s Cathedral at the ticket office.
A model of the Geneva Saint Peter's Cathedral at the ticket office.aux tours

The South Tower contains the belfry and its 5 bells and the watch room at its top. This room is closed on the outside and contains small windows.

The watchtower of the South Tower.
The watchtower of the South Tower of Geneva Saint Peter's Cathedral

The North Tower, which is accessed via the spire, houses two bells and above all has two external levels from which one can enjoy a magnificent view of the city of Geneva and in particular its harbour with the Jet d’eau. The last level is the most impressive because it is possible to go around it completely and therefore enjoy a 360 degree view.

The penultimate and last floor of the visit to the North Tower.
The penultimate floor of the North Tower of Geneva Cathedral The top floor of the North Tower of Geneva Cathedral

North, East and West views from the top of the North Tower of Geneva Saint Peter’s Cathedral.
North view from the top of the North Tower of Saint-Pierre Cathedral in Geneva East view from the top of the North Tower of Saint Peter's Cathedral in Geneva West view from the top of the North Tower of Saint Peter's Cathedral in Geneva.

Inside the top level is a magnificent miniature of the cathedral. Unfortunately, it is not accessible to the public.

The model of Geneva Saint Peter’s Cathedral inside the top of the North Tower.
The model of Geneva Saint Peter's Cathedral inside the top of the North Tower.

It is possible to buy a ticket combining a visit of:

  • the towers
  • the archaeological site of Geneva Saint Peter’s Cathedral
  • the International Museum of the Reformation.

The Reform


A very important event took place in the middle of the 16th century in Europe with the Protestant reform, a movement challenging the Catholic Church operating mode. It started from Germany in 1517, arrived in Geneva in 1525 and finally was adopted by the city in 1536. At that time, a number of depredations took place in the cathedral to remove objects that were considered incompatible with the new movement. The prince-bishop had been driven out of the city a few years earlier in 1527.

Native of France, the personalities of Guillaume Farel and especially Jean Calvin are associated with the Reformation movement in Geneva. Jean Calvin made Geneva one of the centres of this way of thinking in Europe and raised the city to the rank of “Protestant Rome”. As early as 1540, the Protestant percutants, particularly those fleeing France, reshaped Geneva’s identity. This is the very beginning of international Geneva.

Jean Calvin. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Jean Calvin

The Republic of Geneva is created shortly after the Reformation in 1541 and it was at that time that Geneva’s history began with Switzerland, which was moving closer to the reformed Swiss cantons and in particular that of Berne. It signed an “eternal alliance” with Switzerland in 1584.

The future canton of Vaud, then called Pays de Vaud, went through the Reformation in the same year as Geneva in 1536. In this case it will not be by choice but following the invasion of its territory by Bern which imposes Protestantism. As in Geneva, the Bishop of Lausanne had to flee to the Savoy region.

The cathedrals of French-speaking Switzerland


French-speaking Switzerland has four cathedrals, two reformed in Geneva and Lausanne and two Catholics in Sion in Valais and Fribourg. Lausanne Cathedral is dedicated to Notre-Dame, Fribourg Cathedral to Saint-Nicolas and Sion Cathedral to Notre-Dame du Glarier.

Compared to other cathedrals in French-speaking Switzerland, St. Peter’s Cathedral in Geneva has the particularity of having an imposing entrance porch reminiscent of a Greek temple that contrasts particularly well with the very refined one at the cathedral in Lausanne. Its coloured arrow is also a particularity that is not found elsewhere in French-speaking Switzerland.

The cathedrals of Notre-Dame of Lausanne and Saint-Nicolas of Fribourg under a grey sky.
Notre-Dame de Lausanne Cathedral from the Pont Bessière Saint-Nicolas Cathedral in Fribourg.

Video


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Md3-GcldT7c

Linked attractions


Attractions in the canton of Geneva
Attraction in the city of Geneva

Historical buildings in french-speaking Switzerland
Religious buildings in french-speaking Switzerland

Read More
Age 12-18
AGE 3-6 years
Age 6-12 ans
Age Adulte
Disabled People
Favorites
Food
Location Inside
Location Outside
Pic-Nic
Playground
Price 0-15
Price 15-50
Price 50+
Price Free
Rating 4/5
Rating 5/5
Season SUMMER
Season Winter
View ★★★
View ★★☆
View ★☆☆
WC
Webcam
3.0
INTERET GENERAL
0.0%