The Lake Murten region

Murten, Avenches, Seeland district

The medieval town of Murten and the Roman town of Avenches are a gateway to a bygone age. On the shores of Lake Murten or during an adventure in the Three lakes region or the wine-growing region of Mont Vully, you are bound to get that holiday feeling. The Lake Murten region enchants with its Mediterranean charm. A stay in the Lake Murten region is like travelling through time. The romantic town of Murtin, with its cosy arcades, beautifully preserved houses and accessible encircling town wall, enchants every visitor. Located nearby, Avenches allows visitors to follow in the footsteps of the Romans. You can immerse yourself in a long-vanished era with a visit to the Roman Museum and a tour of the amphitheatre. When strolling through modern-day Avenches, you will find yourself surrounded by the simple charm of its medieval architecture. The shores of Lake Murten can be walked along in many areas. Cyclists appreciate the Three lakes region, where they can effortlessly explore all the diversity of the local countryside on two wheels.


Die beiden malerischen Mittelalterstädte läuten mit der Fastnacht jedes Jahr im März das Ende des Winters ein. Nach monatelangen Vorbereitungen ist es endlich soweit: Fastnachtsgruppen, Guggenmusiken und viele verkleidete Fastnächtler ziehen durch die Gassen. Drei Tage und Nächte dauert das bunte Treiben. Höhepunkt ist jeweils am Sonntagnachmittag der Umzug mit kunstvoll dekorierten Fastnachtswagen. Wer laute Klänge, farbige Kostüme und fröhliche, ausgelassene Stimmung mag, geht hin.

Erlebnis im Stellwerk Kerzers

Einmal selber Bahnhofvorsteher sein! Das ist der Kindheitstraum von vielen Grossen und Kleinen. Im ältesten noch erhaltenen Stellwerk der Schweiz ist dies möglich. Dort werden kleine, grosse und erwachsene Kinder zum Fahrdienstleiter oder Bahnhofchef und können Züge mittels Hebel, Licht- und Tonsignalen von einem Gleis aufs andere bewegen. Das Stellwerk aus dem Jahre 1901 konnte dank dem Verein Stellwerk Kerzers und dem Einsatz vieler Freiwilligen saniert und erhalten werden. Auf Anfrage werden Führungen angeboten.

The Roman town of Aventicum

Two millennia ago, the former capital of Roman Helvetia, Aventicum, had almost 20,000 inhabitants. Today, Avenches is one of Switzerland's most archaeologically significant cities. Numerous historic monuments stand as testimony of its erstwhile greatness.

In 15 BC, the Romans annexed all the territory of modern-day Switzerland. Aventicum became the capital city of the Helvetians. The city not only enjoyed an ideal strategic position beside the road network of that era, but was also connected to shipping lanes via a river channel which joined the suburbs with a port by Lake Murten. Under Emperor Vespasian, the city was elevated to colony status in around 71/72 AD. The majority of the historic monuments still visible today were constructed after this period. Today, the Roman site of Aventicum offers its visitors numerous important relics: the amphitheatre, which is also the setting of spectacular performances; the Roman theatre; the baths of the Forum; the Cigognier temple; the Eastern gate; and the famous Tornallaz tower, the sole survivor of the 73 erstwhile towers of the Roman city wall. The archaeological findings of Aventicum are exhibited in Avenches’ Roman Museum.

Arrival of the Trojan elephant in Murten

Since 25 June 2016, the grounds of the Historical Museum in Murten have been home to a life-sized Trojan elephant. This objet d’art, which is accessible to the public, serves as a reminder of the tragic story that unfolded in Murten 150 years ago.

In the summer of 1866, an American circus was visiting Murten. Its great attraction was its two trained elephants. On the day after the performance, one of the two elephants escaped its enclosure, killing the elephant keeper in the process. The animal, which had grown manic, then ran through the town. As no one was able to tame the elephant, there was no choice but to kill it – with a cannon ball, which had been ordered from Fribourg. Since then, the lower part of the Rathausgasse, or Town Hall Alley, where this tragedy played out has also been known as Elefantengasse, or Elephant Alley. The aforementioned cannon ball can be viewed in Murten’s Historical Museum. The elephant’s skeleton is exhibited in the Bern Natural History Museum.

How was the famous Nidlechueche cake invented?

One legend has it that the delicate Nidlechueche cake was created in the oven houses. In times gone by, people baked their bread together in oven houses. Back then, it was done without thermometers. To check the oven’s temperature, scraps of flattened dough were shoved into the oven. The oven’s temperature could be gauged based on how quickly the dough baked. A baker had the idea of adding some Nidle (cream) and sugar on top of these dough scraps. It turned out that the sugar caramelised wonderfully, creating a delicious cake. Today, the Murten region is famous for this legendary Nidlechueche. It can be bought in all the local bakeries.
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