Alexander the Great and Diogenes in Stein am Rhein – Switzerland

StoryAlexander the Great and Diogenes in Stein am Rhein - Switzerland

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Alexander the Great did also reached Switzerland! No, not really himself, but on a famous painting on one of the oldest houses in town. The famous meeting with Diogenes is painted on a facade in the town named Stein am Rhein.

Stein am Rhein is a historic town and a municipality in the so-called upper part of the Swiss canton of Schaffhausen. The city is located north of the Rhine, where the Rhine flows out of Lake Constance. The town of Stein is best known for the well-preserved old town center. Stein am Rhein received the first Wakker Prize for the preservation of its architectural heritage in 1972. The award noted that Stein am Rhein was nearly unique in Switzerland and rare in all of Europe for the number of notable buildings in a compact space. It also noted the excellent care with which the city was preserved.

“Alex, get out of the sun!” said Diogenes

Every building in Stein am Rhein tells a story. The “house of the sun” (Gasthaus zur Sonne) shows Diogenes inside a barrel asking Alexander the Great to move out of the way because he’s blocking the sun. It is one of the oldest guest houses in Stein am Rhein, where you can spot the beautiful facade with the great Macedonian king Alexander III of Macedon and Diogenes.

The painting is called “Alexander and Diogenes”. The restaurant “Gasthaus zur Sonne” dates back to the 15th century. The house was first mentioned in 1448.

The official tourism internet platform of the town describes the painting on the facade and the house as following:

First mentioned in 1448. A pleasant, cantilevered half-timbered construction from 1659. At first the building was only used as a residential building, later from 1512 also as a guest house and inn. A massive wooden bay window without a pedestal is striking.

The painting around 1900 by C. Schmidt with the encounter between Alexander the Great and Diogenes (“Go out of the sun”) alludes to the house name. Comfortable Gothic beamed ceiling on the 1st and bright rococo paneling on the 2nd floor.

The beautiful town Stein am Rhein is home to several buildings that are listed as Swiss heritage sites of national significance. There are three churches on the list; the former monastery church of St. Georg, the former Benedictine monastery church of St. Georgen and the Castle Church (Kirche auf Burg).

The castle Burg Hohenklingen above the town, an older late-Roman castle and the city walls are also included on the list.

In the old city there are six houses or municipal buildings that are on the inventory.

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