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Golden Rose of Montreux

Montreux

Montreux is a municipality in the district of Vevey in the canton of Vaud in Switzerland. It was a haven for Catherine Berkley and Lt. Fredric Henry in Ernest Hemmingway's classic, A Farewell to Arms.

It is located on Lake Geneva at the foot of the Alps and has a population of 22,897.

History and geography

Montreux lies on the north east shore of Lake Geneva at the fork in the Roman road from Italy over the Simplon Pass, where the roads to the Roman capital of Aventicum and the road into Gaul through Besançon separated. This made it an important settlement already in Roman times.

In the 12th century, viticulture was introduced to the region, and the sunny slopes of the lake from Lavaux to Montreux became an important wine-growing region.

The region was subject to various princes, most notably the princes of Savoy from the south side of the lake. They unified the territory which comprises the present canton of Vaud and were generally popular sovereigns.

After the Burgundian Wars in the 15th century, the Swiss in Berne occupied the region without resistance, an indication of the weakness of the princes of Savoy. The Reformation made the region around Montreux and Vevey an attractive haven for Huguenots from Italy, who brought their artisanal skills and set up workshops and businesses.

In 1798, Napoleon liberated the region from the Bernese. In the 19th century, the tourist industry became a major commercial outlet, with the grand hotels of Montreux attracting the rich and cultured from Europe and America.

Culture

Montreux hosts several noteworthy festivals:

  • Freddie Mercury's Montreux Memorial Day, annually first week-end of September since 2003.
  • The Montreux Jazz Festival, annually in July since 1967; It is held at the Montreux Music & Convention Centre, built in 1973.
  • The Golden Rose Festival, annually in spring (1961-2003), which awarded the Golden Rose of Montreux, an international award for television;
  • The Golden Award of Montreux, annually in April, is traditionally, since 1989, the first international advertising and multimedia Competition in Europe - starting the global season for awarding creative excellence.

Montreux boasts one of the most beautiful walks along the lake, stretching from Villeneuve all the way towards Vevey. The main square of the town, Place du Marché, features a statue of Freddie Mercury facing Lake Geneva. Some of the numerous small villages around Montreux include La Tour-de-Peilz, Clarens, Territet, and Villeneuve. The Chateau of Chillon provides a marvelous view of the entire Lake of Geneva and can be easily accessed via bus, walk or boat.

Deep Purple made Montreux famous with their song "Smoke on the Water", which tells the events of 1971, when a Frank Zappa fan with a flare gun set the Montreux Casino on fire.

We all came out to Montreux on the Lake Geneva shoreline / To make records with a mobile - We didn't have -much time / Frank Zappa & the Mothers were at the best place around / But some stupid with a flare gun burned the -place to the ground / Smoke on the water, fire in the sky

The Casino was reopened in 1975.

Montreux is the home of Mountain Studios, the recording studio used by several artists. "Bonzo's Montreux" by Led Zeppelin is named after the city where the drums session of John Bonham was recorded in 1976. In 1978, the band Queen bought the studio. It was then sold to Queen producer David Richards. In 2002 the Mountain Studios has, very unfortunately, due to a complete renovation of the Casino, been converted into a bar. David Richards has left Montreux to settle down somewhere else. Queen also appeared in 1984 and in 1986 at the Golden Rose Festival and Queen guitarist Brian May appeared in 2001 at the Jazz Festival. Montreux was also the subject of the 1995 Queen single A Winter's Tale on the album Made in Heaven, one of Freddie's last songs before his death on 24th November 1991. The album cover features the statue of Mercury beside the lake.

In 1990, the Wakker Prize was awarded to Montreux.


Notable residents

References

External links

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