"Neuchatel in the Watch Valley" Top 5 Page for this destination Neuchâtel by amsterdam_vallon

Neuchâtel Travel Guide: 89 reviews and 205 photos

History of Neuchatel

In 1011, Rudolf III of Burgundy presented a new castle (neu-chatel) on the lakeshore to his wife Irmengarde. The first counts of Neuchatel were named shortly afterwards, and in 1214 their domain was officially dubbed a city. For three centuries, the Earldom of Neuchatel flourished, and in 1530, the people of Neuchatel accepted the Reformation, and their city and territory were proclaimed to be indivisible from then on. Future rulers were required to seek investiture from the citizens.

With increasing power and prestige, Neuchatel was raised to the level of a principality at the beginning of the seventeenth century. On the death in 1707 of Mary of Orleans, Duchess of Nemours and Princess of Neuchatel, the people had to choose her successor from among fifteen claimants. They wanted their new prince first and foremost to be a Protestant, and also to be strong enough to protect their territory but based far enough away to leave them to their own devices. Louis XIV actively promoted the many French pretenders to the title, but the Neuchatelois people passed them over in favour of Frederick I, King of Prussia, who claimed his entitlement in a rather complicated fashion through the Houses of Orange and Nassau. With the requisite stability assured, Neuchatel entered its golden age, with commerce and industry (including watchmaking and lace) and banking undergoing steady expansion.

At the turn of the nineteenth century, the King of Prussia was defeated by Napoleon and was forced to give up Neuchatel in order to keep Hanover. Napoleon's marshal, Berthier, became Prince of Neuchatel, building roads and restoring infrastructure, but never actually setting foot in his domain. After the fall of Napoleon, Frederick III of Prussia reasserted his rights by proposing that Neuchatel be linked with the other Swiss cantons (the better to exert influence over the lot of them). On September 12, 1814, Neuchatel became the 21st canton, but also remained a Prussian principality. It took a bloodless revolution in the decades following for Neuchatel to shake off its princely past and declare itself, in 1848, a republic within the Swiss Confederation. To this day, the Republic and Canton of Neuchatel is the only one of the 26 to proudly fly a tricolour - green, white and red, with a minute Swiss cross hanging in the top corner.

Neuchatel's Star Sight

If you do a trip to Neuchatel, you should at least see those :

- The Hotel DuPeyrou
- The Rathaus
- The Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen (the Justice Fountain)
- The Bannerherr-Brunnen (the Fontaine du Banneret)
- The Corbets Passage
- The Geifenbrunnen (the Griffon Fountain)
- The Gefangnisturm (the Prison Tower)
- The Marktplatz
- The Castle and the Collegiate Church

All those " star sights " will be explain in the " must see activities ".

  • Last visit to Neuchâtel: Jun 2004
  • Intro Updated Aug 8, 2004
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