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Discover Geneva through the ages


Located at the heart of Europe, Geneva has long been a place of refuge and exchange. Through a selection of themes and focal points, immerse yourself in the history of Geneva to discover the episodes and influences which have shaped the city where Calvin lived.

Focus on a selection of themes or moments from Geneva’s long history

A city of exchange

Located at the heart of Europe, Geneva has been a place where goods have been traded and ideas exchanged for several centuries. Through its trade fairs and banking activity, it became well-known internationally as an important trade centre. With the Reformation, it embodied a major spiritual project in the 16th century, becoming the Protestant Rome.

A city of refuge

From time immemorial, Geneva has welcomed foreign victims of persecution. It maintains the tradition of being a safe haven to this day, welcoming numerous political exiles.

History of l'Escalade

Discover the history of l’Escalade, which takes its name from the assault on the ramparts of the City of Geneva by the troops of the Duke of Savoy during the night of 11/12 December 1602. Every year in December, the Fête de l'Escalade commemorates the victory of Geneva with a blend of humour and tradition. It is also the opportunity to sing the famous hymn of Geneva, Cè qué lainô.

Financial centre

A key global financial centre, Geneva can look back on a 500-year-old banking tradition. 

Geneva, or the emergence of new ideas

The home of great thinkers, from the philosophers of the Enlightenment to the leading scientists, mathematicians and physicians of the 18th century, Geneva occupies an important place in the world of new ideas. It is also the home town of Henri Dunant, the founder of the Red Cross

Joining the Confederation

On 19 May 1815, following a 'French period' lasting more than fifteen years, Geneva joined the Confederation

An international role for Geneva

Cosmopolitan, open to the world and the latest innovations, Geneva was the birthplace of the League of Nations. Since then, it has become an international city, home to negotiations and reflection

The municipal system

From Napoleon to the founding of 'Grande Genève', the municipal system underwent several transformations.

Festivals and historic days

Article modifié le 25.09.2020 à 17:05