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The Reformation Wall

Bas relief avec une allée verdoyante devant

Built in the Parc des Bastions against the original city wall erected in the 16th century to protect the City of Geneva, the International Monument to the Reformation was constructed in 1909 to mark the 400th anniversary of Calvin’s birth and the 350th anniversary of the foundation of the Academy.

Le mur des Réformateurs

The Reformation Wall, or International Monument to the Reformation consists of a stone rampart engraved and decorated with bas-reliefs, in front of which stand the statues of statesmen, pioneers and protectors of the Reformation. Protected by a water feature recalling the moat around the former fortifications, the work as a whole is a hundred metres long.

The four great preachers

The central group represents the four great preachers, wearing the ‘robe of Geneva’ and holding the little people’s bible: 

  • Guillaume Farel,
  • Jean Calvin,
  • Théodore de Bèze,
  • John Knox.

An international monument

The Reformation Wall was built in 1909 to mark the 400th birthday of Jean Calvin and the 350th anniversary of the founding of the Académie de Genève, which is now the University of Geneva. The monument was inaugurated in 1917. Four Swiss architects were responsible for the design, which was selected from 71 entries in a competition. The statues were created by two French sculptors.

As an international monument, it also recalls the work and influence of Calvinism in different countries:

  • to the left of the central group can be seen Admiral de Coligny for France, William the Silent for the Netherlands and Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg, protector of the Huguenot refugees, for Germany;
  • to the right are Roger Williams for New England, Oliver Cromwell for Great Britain and Stephen Bocskai for Hungary. The bas-reliefs and inscriptions complete the documentation.

The Reformation Wall in figures

  • The Reformation Wall was inaugurated in 1917 to mark the 400th anniversary of the birth of Calvin and the 350th anniversary of the founding of the Academy by Calvin;
  • It is one hundred metres long;
  • The four main figures in the middle stand 5 metres high;
  • In total, the monument boasts 10 statues;
  • parallelepipeds engraved with the names of Luther and Zwingli pay homage to the two other great reformers, in particular in Europe and Switzerland.


  • Find the inscription “Post Tenebras Lux” (after the darkness, the light), the motto adopted by the people of Geneva after the reformation;
  • Follow the Reformation itinary proposed by the International Museum of the Reformation, which takes in 14 symbolic sites of the Reformation.

Mur des Réformateurs

Promenade des Bastions 1

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Article modifié le 08.08.2023 à 16:11