Traces of Past Empires

By pastempires

The Palais de l'Isle at Annecy in Winter Sunshine

In the Middle Ages, Annecy was the capital of the County of Geneva. After the line of the counts of Geneva came to end as an anti-Pope in Avignon, Annecy became integrated into Amadeus Duke of Savoy's possessions in 1401.

In 1444, it became the capital of the region. With the advance of Calvinism in Geneva in 1535, Annecy became the centre for the Counter-Reformation opposition to Geneva, and the Bishop's see of Geneva was transferred there. It remained under the House of Savoy.

During the French Revolution the Savoy region was conquered by France. Annecy became attached to the Département of Mont Blanc, of which the capital was Chambéry. After the Bourbon Restoration in 1815, it was returned to the Kingdom of Sardinia (heir of the Duchy of Savoy). When Savoy was sold to France by the new Kingdom of Italy in 1860, it became the capital of the new département of Haute-Savoie.

Here in Winter sunshine you can see the Palais de l'Isle - a castle on an island in the centre of the Thiou canal. It was built in 1132. It was the primary residence of the Lord of Annecy in the 12th century, and later became the Count of Geneva's administrative headquarters, then a courthouse and a mint.

It was then a prison from the Middle Ages until 1865. During World War II the Gestapo kept Resistance leaders imprisoned here and then after the liberation of Annecy by the Free French Forces of the Interior (Resistance) on 19 August 1944, the Germans were imprisoned here.

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