Un hommage à l’humanité

I am the representative for Geneva, “the city of peace”.
Forget all the other buildings in this area because I am the real deal.
With my enormous construction I serve as the United Nations European Headquarters.

I am the second largest building in Europe after Versailles and the worlds biggest conference centre for multilateral diplomacy. It is in my chambers that peace is being discussed. Those facts make me very proud and popular. These days more than 100.000 people come to visit me each year to take guided tours, watch my treasures or read books and do research in my huge library.

As you know by now, I am the true proud of Geneva because I am a tribute to its peaceful, humanitarian history. I, at my turn, am very thankful towards people like John Calvin, for his work on the Reformation and to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, for his “Social Contract” and of course not to forget Henri Dunant, founder of the Red Cross Movement and the Geneva Conventions. They and many others created a peaceful social environment and influenced people to start having debates about society and rights. All these people are of influence to the fact that I am standing here today. O before I forget, be sure to go and watch Calvin’s chair in St Pierre’s Cathedral. That old church would surely be pleased with your visit.

Don’t forget to take a look at my treasures before you go. Many people and nations offered me presents to show their respect. For example the Russians gave me The Great Centaur by Ernst Neizvestny in 1997 and at my 50th birthday, in 1995, the Germans gave me The Spreading of the Seeds and the Gathering of Ashes by Esther Shalev-Gerz and Jochen Gerz. It was a very nice present from those friendly Germans. They have become such an excellent nation since the end of world war II. I hold no negative thoughts about them any more. I did, however, feel ashamed for a long time because of the fact that my founding fathers, of the League of Nations, failed to keep the peace and could not stop world war II from happening. Luckily the United Nations where formed immediately after the war in 1945. They continued to watch over us. I have seen a better world from that point on although recently I worry more than usual about peace on our planet. I just hope we can all take an example from the people in my palace who use diplomacy and talking as a first solution to conflicts and I hope everyone in the world takes a look at Geneva as an example of peace and hope.

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Views from a cathedral

Visit me at the bottom and get a view of how things were. Visit me on the top and get a view of how things are. In the middle you find me connecting the two views. I am the Cathedral Saint Pierre.

I am a mixed blood Romanesque with some Gothic flavour and a neoclassical façade. My size is impressive but I am old and stripped from most of my beauty due to the influence of some guy named John Calvin, who left me his chair and who was the reason my catholic body was transformed into that of a protestant. Calvinism was born under my roof. Yet now this modified Protestant Cathedral is again looking out over a mostly catholic city. I don’t mind though. Often I feel more toeristian than Christian.

Use me for some exercise as it are my impressive towers who will keep you busy.
157 breathtaking steps upwards into the North Tower and then you should hope that you have some breath left as I will push the last bits out of your lungs with a breathtaking view of the city. I also offer you a view on the Geneva lake and that big arrogant fountain that tries to compete with me as the highest and most powerful symbol of the city. Jet d’eau is young and flexible however I am ripe and solid. The visitors often watch that thing from within my tower. It is my height that shows them the city and everything in it. I am the king of old town and the producer of panoramic views. If you reach the top of my towers then I will show you Geneva in all its beauty. If you come at the right times I will even play some music for you.

If you are more down to earth then you can dig into the past as beneath me there are the fallen ruins of my predecessors. It is me however who is still standing. Right on top of ancient churches, right on top of the hill in the centre of the old town. I dominate the landscape and its panoramic and Christian view.

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