I was forewarned that this monument to the slain Swiss soldiers killed in France was deeply moving, and that Mark Twain had called it "the saddest and most moving piece of rock in the world." I still wasn't prepared for how heartwrenching it was.
It's a very short walk from the center of town and is in a beautiful clearing, definitely worth a visit!
Thanks to Davina for finding the exact Twain quote!
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In Loving Memory of the Swiss Guards
The Löwendenkmal, or Lion Monument is a commemoration of the Swiss Guards that surrendered their lives for the pride of their country during the French Revolution. The dying lion is meant to relay the melancholy stories of the Swiss that were massacred and is shown with a spear pierced through his flesh and hovering over a shield bearing the fleur-de-lis of the French reign. Adjacent to the lion is another shield bearing the Swiss coat of arms. The inscription below the sculpture lists the names of the esteemed officers and an approximate figure of how many sacrificed their lives. Aesthetically, it's a beautiful carving and begs appreciation. It's one of Lucerne's foremost attractions, so it's definitely worth a visit.
The Lion Monument in Lucerne is a hallmark site in the famous medieval city. Carved into sandstone, a dying lion represents the 760 mercenary Swiss soldiers who died fighting for Louis XVI during the French Revolution - the men died in Paris defending the royal castle from revolutionaries in 1792.
The rock wall is the side of a former quarry and faces a small pond in a tranquil park. The carving is much bigger than it appears in pictures - it is 33 feet wide and 20 feet high. Carved by Lucas Ahorn in 1821, the mortally-wounded lion lies in agony during his final moments. The monument is dramatic, powerful and startling.
Mark Twain praised the sculpture of a mortally-wounded lion as "the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world." I have not seen all the sculptures in the world but I feel that he is right. It commemorates the Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution, when revolutionaries stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris, France.