The finest medieval ramparts in Switzerland surround the 5,000 people of Murten. 25% of Murten speaks French - who call the town Morat.
Across the way is Mont Vully- one big vineyard. The lowlands to the right - a rich former lakebed - are the heart of the fertile Three Lakes Region (lakes Biel, Neuchâtel, and Murten). The lush farmland is called the "vegetable garden of Switzerland" for its soil which yields more than 60 varieties of produce. The ancient Celtic Helvetii tribe recognized the fertility of this land and settled here. The Romans likewise made this land a priority in establishing their colony of Helvetia.
...Imagine the action on June 22, 1476. Mighty Charles the Bold with his 20,000 well-armed Burgundians was camped on a hill opposite here for 10 days, laying siege to the town of 2000. Runners were sent out from the town to gather help. A makeshift army of about 10,000 villagers gathered on hills to the left. Just as George Washington attacked when the Redcoats were celebrating Christmas, the Swiss swooped in as the Burgundians were still hungover from a big Midsummer Night's Eve bash. The Battle of Murten was fought in pouring rain - a muddy, bloody mess. Almost all 20,000 Burgundians were slaughtered - many driven into the lake with their armor on to drown (try swimming in a coat of mail...). For centuries French bones would wash ashore. Charles the (no-longer-so) Bold barely got away on a very fast horse. This victory demonstrated to the Swiss the advantages of E Pluribus Unum and the assemblage of the many still-fiercely independent Swiss cantons into the Helvetic Confederation snowballed. In this sweet little corner an influential battle in European history had been fought. Burgundian power ebbed, and Europe got to know a new nation... Switzerland.
Murtenhof Hotel with a neat sundial on the side.