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Friday, December 04, 2009

The Fifth Minaret in Switzerland


As a quick follow-up to the article published earlier this week I wish to point out that the widely reported statement that 'there are only four minarets in Switzerland' is incorrect.
There are actually five.


If one were to visit the beautiful Swiss canton of Neuchâtel you may take in many of the lovely sights like its rather pretty lake, its informative museums as well as in the little town of Serrières the home of Philippe Suchard - Swiss chocolatier and industrialist – which has the 5th minaret in Switzerland ‘Minaret de Serrières’.

Built in 1865 the house was designed by renowned Swiss architect Louise Daniel Perrier with the minaret included at Suchard’s request. Suchard had been so inspired by Islamic architecture following his travels in Muslim countries that he wished to recreate a minaret in his home.
Suchard himself seemed a visionary of his day. He developed the method for grinding cocoa paste which is still in use and by the end of the 19th century he was the largest chocolate producer in Switzerland – whose company produced brands like Milka. He built his house next door to his factory and it is still there today on Rue Guillaume-Farel – testament to a time where people were not as burdened by intolerance and hate as they are today.


So there we have it folks – a minaret designed by a famous 19th Century Swiss architect for the house of an even more famous Swiss Chocolatier. It seems that in actual fact a minaret IS an example of traditional Swiss architecture – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.


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