Symbolic Lion Sculpture Carved Laying in a Cliff

In Lucerne, Switzerland, there is a stone sculpture of a slain lion embedded in the face of a low cliff that pays tribute to the hundreds of valiant Swiss Guards that courageously met their demise in 1792 when revolutionaries attacked the Tuileries Palace in Paris. Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen designed the public structure known as the Lion Monument, which is also referred to as the Dying Lion or simply the Lion of Lucerne, in remembrance of the massacre that occurred during the French Revolution and to honor the brave men who lost their lives in the ambush.

The monument is a powerful structure that stands a towering 6 meters high and measures 10 meters in length. Inscribed directly above the impaled and dying lion is “Helvetiorum Fidei ac Virtuti” which translates as “To the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss.” Below the sculpture lie the names of the Swiss soldiers involved in the event, both those that died and survived. As one photographer by the name of Disintegrated8 put it: “It's the saddest piece of rock in the world.” In fact, even Mark Twain praised the piece in 1880, deeming it “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.”

Photo credits: [Victor Wong, Andrew Bossi, Disintegrated8, Annette Cormack, mbell1975, Martina Egli, NikitaY, mithuandjoe, Steve & Mill Hall]


Pinar Noorata is the Managing Editor at My Modern Met. She is a writer, editor, and content creator based in Brooklyn, NY. She earned her BA in Film and Media Studies from CUNY Hunter College and is an alumni of the Center for Arts Education’s Career Development Program in NYC. She has worked at major TV, film, and publishing companies as well as other independent media businesses. When she isn’t writing, editing, or creating videos herself, Pinar enjoys watching movies, reading, crafting, drawing, and volunteering at her local animal shelter.
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