02 June 2006
From the guidebook:
The Swiss have a long tradition of supplying mercernaries to foreign governments. This commitment was put to the test in 1792 when Louis XVI, Marie Antionette, and their children were captured and hauled back to the Tuileries Palace in Paris. A mob of working-class Parisians stormed the palace in search of royal blood. More than 700 Swiss officers died while defending the palace, without knowing that their royal employers -- like Elvis -- had left the building.
In the early 1800s, the sculpture was carved into a sandstone cliff above the city of Lucerne and has attracted countless visitors since its dedication in 1821.
Mark Twain declared the monument to be "the saddest and most moving piece of rock in the world."