Brunswick Monument – Geneva, Switzerland - Atlas Obscura

Brunswick Monument

An opulent monument built for a duke who donated his entire fortune to the city of Geneva. 

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Geneva is the origin of the Calvinistic stream of Protestantism, and therefore a tempered place that generally frowns on decadent architecture, especially when related to people, despite that there is a massive and richly decorated tomb for Charles II, Duke of Brunswick, right next to Lake Geneva.  

The tomb was built in 1879. It was designed by Swiss architect Jean Franel and modeled after the 14th-century Scalinger Tombs in Verona. The Duke of Brunswick, a very wealthy man, had left his entire fortune to the city of Geneva, with one big stipulation in the will: The money would only be released if a mausoleum were built for him, modeled after the tombs in Verona and located “in a prominent position and worthy” in the city. The duke insisted that the mausoleum should feature statues of him, his father, and his grandfather.

The entirety of the estate was worth a staggering 24 million Swiss Francs (equivalent to about $160 million in 2022), of which 2 million was used to build the monument. The rest of the money was used to improve public buildings and infrastructure, including the Grand Théâtre de Genève, which has a statue of the Duke in front of it.

Know Before You Go

The area is freely accessible

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September 8, 2022

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