Watchman Renato Haeusler rings the Clemence bell to signal an emergency, after announcing the time by yelling to the four points of the horizon between 10 pm and 2 am, a tradition which dates back to 1405, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Lausanne, Switzerland, April 3, 2020.REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
LAUSANNE (Reuters) – In Lausanne, a Swiss city on the shores of lake Geneva, the coronavirus outbreak has revived a tradition of centuries past: The cathedral watchman climbs the 153 stone steps to his tower at night, puts on a black hat, lights a lantern and rings the “La Clemence” bell to stir residents’ solidarity and courage.
It’s a practice dating back to the Middle Ages, when watchmen at Lausanne Cathedral kept a vigil over the city and rang the bell if they spotted a fire.
“We can compare this pandemic to a worldwide fire that has spread at lightning speed on all continents,” Renato Hausler, one of the last…
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