Abbey Basilica – St-Maurice Monastery Treasure
The Abbey of Saint Maurice in Valais was built 1500 years ago as a place to honor martyrs. The pilgrimage destination was once the spiritual center of the Burgundy Empire and today houses one of the richest ecclesiastical treasures in Europe.
In Roman times the site of the Abbey of Saint Maurice was called Agaunum. It is located at the strategically important narrow part of the Rhône River. The renowned Theban legion, led by captain Mauritius, was stationed here. The legion was completely annihilated in the 3rd century on account of its adherence to the Christian faith. The Abbey of Saint Maurice was established over the grave of the martyrs in the year 515 by Sigismund, son of the Burgundy king Gundobad. From that time onwards the abbey played an important role. It was the center of veneration of martyrs as well as the main abbey of the Burgundy Empire.
Even today Saint Maurice is the headquarters of ecclesiastical organizations and is renowned for its basilica and its treasure, which includes rare masterpieces of sacral works of art created by goldsmiths (guided tours are available).