Gaze up at the spectacular ceiling paintings and note how the sunlight penetrates the stained-glass windows in this magnificent chapel.
The Chapel of the Maccabees is the most decorated and iconic part of the majestic Cathedral of St. Pierre. Constructed at the beginning of the 15th century as a cardinal’s tomb, the site has a rich history entwined with gunpowder, academia and music. Stroll along the quaint cobbled lanes of Geneva’s historic center to reach the entrance of this Gothic masterpiece.
Attend a concert in this spectacular setting and enjoy the unique acoustics. The chapel is available to rent for weddings and other ceremonies. Arrive on a sunny afternoon, when rays of light diffuse through the marvelous stained-glass windows, generating an enchanting ambiance.
Capture photos of the ornate ceiling, painted with angels floating on a blue sky. Marvel at the gilded pulpit adorned with eagle, winged lion and angel statues. The ornate decoration contrasts greatly with the austere Calvinist elements of the rest of the cathedral. Among the intriguing features is a Walcker organ installed in 1889 and placed atop the cardinal’s tomb.
Consider the chapel’s multifaceted past. It became a warehouse for salt and gunpowder during the Reformation period, before being used by professors of philosophy for lectures at the end of the 1600s. In the 19th century, the structure underwent a repair and redecoration process to restore its former glory.
Visit the anthropology museum beneath the church. Wander through the charming alleys of Geneva’s historic Old Town and snap photos of historic buildings. Admire the Geneva skyline from afar, with the Cathedral of St. Pierre among the most prominent visible structures.
Enter the chapel for free. It is open to the public daily year-round from morning until early evening. Exact times vary throughout the year.
The Chapel of the Maccabees is in a hidden corner of the Cathedral of St. Pierre in Geneva’s Old Town. The church is a little southeast of the central part of the city. Take a bus or tram to one of the stops near the cathedral. Visit other sights, including the Museum of Art and History, the Russian Orthodox Church of Geneva and the University of Geneva.