Reformation Wall, Geneva

Geneva's official commemoration of its significant role in the Reformation is the Reformation Wall (Mur de la Réformation) or Reformation Monument, carved in the early 20th century.

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History of Reformation Wall

The monument was constructed from 1909 to 1917.

What to See at Reformation Wall

This imposing structure, appropriately located in the city dubbed the "Protestant Rome," is the most impressive general monument to the Reformation there is. The giant wall (325 feet long, 30 feet high) dominates the large Parc des Bastions and centers on 15-foot-tall statues of four Geneva luminaries:

It is ironic to recall that these reformers did not look kindly on statues during their lifetimes—and in fact they look very stern indeed. Behind the statues runs the motto shared by the Reformation and Geneva: Post Tenebras Lux ("After Darkness, Light").

The four Genevan reformers are flanked by smaller statues of major Protestant figures, bas-reliefs, and inscriptions. One of the reliefs shows Roger Williams and the pilgrim fathers praying on the deck of the Mayflower; another features the 1689 presentation of the Bill of Rights to the King William of Orange by the English Parliament.

Martin Luther (the German "Father of the Reformation") and Ulrich Zwingli (a major Swiss reformer based in Zürich) have significantly less prominent memorials at the sides of the wall - Calvin had disagreed with them on some points.

Quick Facts on Reformation Wall

Site Information
Names:Monument de la Réformation · Mur de la Réformation · Reformation Monument · Reformation Wall · Reformation Wall, Geneva · Wall of Reformers
Country:Switzerland
Categories:colossal statues; historic monuments
Styles:modern
Dates:1909-17
Status: monument
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:46.200244° N, 6.145885° E
Address:Parc des Bastions
Geneva, Switzerland
Hours:Always open
Lodging:View hotels near Reformation Wall
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

References

  1. Personal visit (December 23, 2006).
  2. The Rough Guide to Switzerland
  3. Monument de la Réformation - Fodor's Online Travel Guide

More Information

The Reformation Monument on a gray December day. © Holly Hayes
Four major Genevan reformers. © Holly Hayes
The commanding statue of John Calvin. © Holly Hayes
View along the Reformation Wall. © Holly Hayes
The Pilgrims at prayer on the Mayflower. © Holly Hayes
The Lord's Prayer in English. © Holly Hayes

Map of Reformation Wall, Geneva

Below is a location map and aerial view of Reformation Wall. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.