Escalade


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Escalade

 

the act of scaling a fortification, formerly used as a miliary tactic. Protected by warriors, columns of workers would fill the fortification’s moat and position wide, movable or extensible ladders 15–18 m long, on which the storming parties were to make their ascent. Rope ladders with hooks were also used. The escalade was used from antiquity to the end of the 19th century, especially in storming scarp walls (see).

Escalade (Scaling the Walls)

Weekend in mid-December
Escalade is a celebration in Geneva, Switzerland, of the victory of the people of Geneva over the attacking French Savoyards. On the nights of Dec. 11 and 12 in 1602, the French soldiers tried to scale the city ramparts, but were ferociously turned back. Among the remembered defenders is MÅre Royaume, who poured a pot of scalding soup on the head of a Savoyard soldier.
To mark the victory, people carrying torches and wearing period costumes and armor proceed through the old city on both banks of the Rhone River. Historic figures, like MÅre Royaume, are always represented. Shops sell chocolates that look like miniature soup pots. These commemorate Royaume's courageous act. At several points on the route, the procession stops while a herald on horseback reads the proclamation of victory. The procession winds up at St. Peter's Cathedral, where the citizens sing patriotic songs and a huge bonfire concludes the celebration. From there revelers can feast on MÅre Royaume's soup and tour the Passage de Monetier. Open to the public only at this time of year, this secret passageway under the Cathedral runs along the old city walls.
On the first Saturday in December a local sports club organizes various races to celebrate, ranging from two to nine kilometers, around the St. Pierre Cathedral. In the evening everyone can participate in the most popular event: the soup pot, or La Marmite, race. Runners cover 3.4 kilometers while dressed in costume which can range from witches and skeletons to the more modern and innovative.
CONTACTS:
Geneva Tourism
Rue de Mont-Blanc 18
C.P. 1602
Geneva, 1211 Switzerland
41-22-909-7070; fax: 41-22-909-7011
www.geneva-tourism.ch
Course de l'Escalade
P.O. Box 3687
Geneva, 1211 Switzerland
41-22-318-5320
www.escalade.ch
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