This is the first in a new series of posts covering the rich history of Carouge, one of Geneva’s most fascinating neighborhoods. This series is authored by B, an AIWC member and resident of Carouge who is obsessed with history, languages, and winter sports.

I. The Kingdom Strikes Back

Geneva, 1777

Geneva, 1777

In the Mairie of Carouge, the large stones recovered from the mausoleum of the centurion attest to the existence of a village of Quadruvium that dates back to the Roman period. Two major Roman roads intersected here at Rondeau, which today are represented by the Route de Thonex and by the Route de Saint Julien. There has been a bridge spanning the Arve river in this vicinity since at least the 2nd century BC. But the history of the town of Carouge that we appreciate begins in 1754, with one of many Treaties of Turin. This treaty, after centuries of dispute, established the legal southern boundary of the Republic of Geneva, and the territory south of the Arve and south of the Rhone belonged definitively to the House of Savoy and a new Province of Carouge.

In 1720, the recently promoted King Victor Amadeus II of Savoy had traded with the Spanish Habsburgs for the island of Sardinia, and ruled over the present day areas of Haute Savoie, Savoie, Nice, the Aosta Valley, the Italian Piedmont, plus the island of Sardinia, with Turin as the capital. But in the northwestern part of the territory, Geneva was still the only major market city in the region, and the king resented that his subjects travelled there to sell their grain, and then spent all of their profits buying goods in the Republic instead of back home in Savoy. The king viewed this as an unacceptable outflow of hard currency. With the treaty of 1754 Savoy controlled the major roads and access to the bridge that led to Geneva from Savoy and points south. The Counts, Dukes and ultimately Kings of Savoy and Sardinia always understood the 3 rules of real estate: location, location, and location!

These Roman stones came from the Mausoleum of the Centurion, just like the ones in the Carouge Mairie.  The bridge beam is circa 1100, and was located roughly where the Fontenette bridge is today.  These were all found while building a new apartment building.

These Roman stones came from the Mausoleum of the Centurion, just like the ones in the Carouge Mairie. The bridge beam is circa 1100, and was located roughly where the Fontenette bridge is today. These were all found while building a new apartment building.

Click here to read Part II: If You Build It, They Will Come

Click here to read Part III: One Shade of Gray

Click here to read Part IV: Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité

Click here to read Part V: Post Tenebrus Lux

We are a group of international women living in Geneva, Switzerland.  If you would like to join the AIWC, please visit our website at http://www.aiwcgeneva.org/ 

Advertisements