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Lion Monument – «the most mournful piece of stone in the world» / Photo: Beat Brechbühl

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Carved in stone, yet deceptively real. There he lies, the world-famous lion, his backstory and expressiveness at least as moving and powerful as the majestic animal itself. Yet what is it that makes the lion so special? A predator one would not expect to find in the Lake Lucerne Region? Not many of the annual 1.4 or so million visitors to the Lion Monument are conscious of the tragedy that underlies this imposing work. Let us travel back in time. Will you join us?

Paris in turmoil

It is 10 August 1792 – truly a dark day for Switzerland, yet part of our history. On this day, some 1,000 Swiss Guards in Paris, seeking to protect the life of King Louis XVI, paid the ultimate price for their unconditional loyalty and untold bravery. What happened? On 10 August 1792, the revolutionaries stormed the residence defended by the Swiss, leading to the virtual annihilation of the Guard. The Lion Monument, a powerful memorial, pays homage to the selfless heroes of the Swiss Guard.