A medieval village with origins in Roman times, Moudon boasts a 13th century gothic church and a ‘high town’ built onto the sandstone rocks overlooking the river Broye that is already a site of national interest.
Once the administrative centre of Vaud, Moudon fell under the rule of Bern in the Middle Ages before returning to the canton of Vaud in 1803.
Speaking on Tuesday about Moudon’s successful application to become one of Switzerland’s ‘most beautiful villages’, mayor Carole Pico said in a statement: “In raising ourselves to the level of villages such as Romainmôtier or Gruyères, Moudon today wins recognition and can feel proud of its heritage”.
A member association, the ‘most beautiful villages in Switzerland’ organization aims to protect and preserve villages under its banner and promote them as tourist destinations.
To be named on the list, a village must meet criteria set out in the association’s quality charter. It must have a population under 10,000, contain a rich architectural heritage and be willing to promote itself as a tourist destination.
"The nomination of Moudon as one of the 'most beautiful villages in Switzerland' is recognition of the willingness of our commune to highlight the heritage of our village and its constant evolution," Moudon tourism director Nadia Atienza told The Local.
"An active tourist office, guided visits, a marked heritage walking tour and two museums were the decisive criteria that contributed to the granting of this label, attesting to our dynamism".
Currently 26 villages across Switzerland hold the label, including the former capital of Roman-era Switzerland, Avenches, with its impressive amphitheatre; the well-preserved mountain village of Grimentz in the Val d’Anniviers; and Morcote on the shore of Lake Lugano which last year won another competition to be named the prettiest village in the whole of Switzerland.
The village's 'high town' is built on sandstone cliffs. Photo: Anthony Demierre/Moudon Tourism
Beautiful home for asylum seekers?
Moudon hit the news for another reason on Tuesday as Swiss media reported the government is considering turning the village’s army barracks into a centre for asylum seekers.
The barracks is being considered under a government plan to create new places for asylum seekers across the country, reported news agencies.
Some 480 places could be made available in the old barracks after 2028, if the rental agreement on another centre in Boudry is not renewed.
The government’s plan is currently under consultation with the cantons and communes until July 4th.
Speaking to broadcaster RTS mayor Pico said the village was opposed to the plan.
“We already welcome 150 asylum seekers. For a town of 6,000 inhabitants, 480 on top of 150 would be nearly a twelfth of the population which we think is too much.”