This is Sion/Sitten the capital of Valais.
It is the biggest city of Valais which is a pretty rural canton and with a little more than 30.000 inhabitants I would rather describe Sion as small town. You can find almost everything you need for cultural life and a pretty good infrastructure, but for sure it doesn’t have something I would describe as urban climate. Nearest place you have to go to get this is Lac Léman (Montreux or Lausanne) which is a good hour drive by car depending on traffic or Bern which is about one and a half hour by train. But Valais and Sion are outweighing that by the magnificent surrounding of the Alps and its numerous possibilities of outdoor activities.
After Chur (canton Graubünden) Sion claims to be the second oldest city of Switzerland. Like in many other places the Romans formed the first well documented settlement, called Sedunum. Later on in Middle Ages the bishop of Martigny moved on to Sion and it becomes a diocese.
Sion has 4 castles:
- Valère (11.-13. Century) that hosts the world oldest, still playable organ made of wood.
- Tourbillon (13. Century) former summer resident of prince-bishop destroyed by fire 1788. Actually on restoration by “Fondation du Château de Tourbillon”.
Both Valère and Tourbillon are enthroned on opposite mounts atop of Sion. While the third is located on nearby Montorge
- Montorge (13. Century) built by the son of the count of Savoyen and therefore the cause for bloody feuds between the house of Savoyen and the bishop of Sion. Now a ruin with no further function.
- Majorie et Vidomnat (13. Century) actually towers named after the bishops officers who lived there. Also destroyed by fire 1788 but rebuild and now hosting the museum of art.