Tour des Sorciers - Atlas Obscura

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Tour des Sorciers

Sion, Switzerland

Visit a prison tower used during witch tribunals. 

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Nestled in the heart of Sion, Switzerland, the Sorcerers’ Tower (“Tour des Sorciers”) is a somber reminder of a bygone era. Originally a part of the city’s fortified wall dating back to the 14th century, this enigmatic tower has witnessed centuries of history and holds within its walls tales of intrigue and anguish.

The tower’s name itself hints at its ominous past. While it never housed actual sorcerers, in the 16th century, it underwent a grim transformation into a prison, complete with the addition of a rooftop. The moniker “Sorcerers’ Tower” draws from the tower’s notorious association with witch hunts and the witchcraft tribunals of the Inquisition during the 15th to 18th centuries in the Valais. Sion became a focal point for these dark chapters in history, and the tower bore witness to countless interrogations and acts of torture.

As you lay eyes on the Sorcerers’ Tower today, the weight of its history becomes palpable. Rusty iron bars adorn every window, and the sturdy wooden door remains firmly shut, guarding secrets of the past. Gazing up at the tower, you may notice an eerie statue of a mysterious figure peering out from one of its windows, adding to its aura of mystery and intrigue. According to information posted at the tower’s entrance, remnants of torture devices, including the dreaded “strappado,” are said to still linger within its confines.

Know Before You Go

The Sorcerers' Tower is easily accessible with just a 15-minute stroll from Sion's train station. Sion enjoys excellent rail connections, with daily trains from Bern and Lausanne taking approximately an hour to reach the city. While entry into the tower itself may currently be restricted, visitors can explore its imposing exterior free of charge.

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