Cathedral de St. Pierre
Geneva’s hillside is dominated by the Cathedral of St. Pierre, made famous as the place where John Calvin preached in the 16th century. This has been the site of a cathedral since the 4th century A.D. although there have been changes through the centuries. Originally a Roman Catholic cathedral built to house the relics of St. Peter; it became a Protestant cathedral in 1536. John Calvin, a French theologian, broke with the Catholic Church and with other Huguenots, and was forced to leave France in the early 16th century. He preached in Geneva from 1536 to 1564.
The construction of the Catholic cathedral began around 1160, and newer, Gothic features were added over 150 years of building. As Protestants fought the excesses of Catholicism, all decoration—including altars, statues, colours, but not stained glass windows-- were removed when it became a Protestant cathedral. In the 18th century a neo-classic façade replaced the Gothic one. Climb the 157 steps on the north tower and you will be rewarded with a broad panoramic view.
Plan a visit to the remarkable archeological site under the cathedral in Geneva’s underground. Remains dating back to the 3rd century B.C. and Roman mosaic floors are fascinating; audio guides for an additional CHF 8 in English help visitors navigate the ruins.