Photography - Ivan Andrejic WWW.SECRETSEDITION.COM
Text - Annette Senn
Breisach upon Rhine Breisach’s history reaches back over 4000 years. It is one of the oldest towns in Germany. The city’s prosperity and importance over many centuries were due to its location on the Rhine river. During the history Breisach changed its territorial affiliation many times. Breisach is situated in one of Germany’s warmest regions: On the banks of the river Rhine which is here the border to France, and close to Switzerland and the Black Forest. Breisach’s landmark, St. Stephens’s cathedral, is rising above the town and river. From there one has a marvellous view, reaching from the Rhine to the Vosges mountains in the west and the Black Forest in the east. Although the town was devastated twice in times of war (1793 and 1945), there are still several monuments and sites of historic interest to be seen. One of these is the sculpture named „Europe reaches for the stars” opposite the cathedral. It was solemnly unveiled on the 50th anniversary of an election which took place in 1950. As a result of this election Breisach was the first European town which declared itself for a United Europe by the vote of its inhabitants.
St. Stephenâ€™s Cathedral in Breisach upon Rhine A very special treasure greets in the southwest of the Kaiserstuhl from afar - the Breisach St. Stephan Cathedral. Perched on the cathedral mountain, Breisachâ€™s landmark towers over the houses of the old town and the Rhine valley. Its two towers lead the way to an interesting building with outstanding works of art, which you should not miss. Romanesque and Gothic elements characterize the cathedral, which was probably started in the late 12th century and completed in the late 15th century.
City History Museum in Breisach upon Rhine Experience 4,000 years of history of Breisach and the surrounding region at the Museum of City History Rheintor! Stroll independently through the exhibition or you can book a guided tour. Many exhibits, pictures, photos and models deliver insight into the changeful history of Breisach from the Celtic and Roman settlings until the devastation at the end of World War II. Changing special exhibitions in cooperation with the city archives, and a special Christmas market in December.
Historical buildings - Heritage of Breisach upon Rhine Beside magnificant Cathedral of St. Stephen, example of medieval architecture, there are numerous historical buildings and structures that evoke the glorious past of the city. «Radbrunnen»(wheel well): a tower built around 1200 to provide the town with water; nowadays concerts and exhibitions are hold in this building. Since 2013 the artwork “Radbühne” by Breisach’s famous artist Helmut Lutz is situated outside of this building. Baroque «Rheintor»(Rhine gate), planned by the architect Vauban for the French “sun king” Louis XIV. Nowadays it houses the museum of the town history. Hagenbachturm – The tower dating back to 1319 AD was used as a prison. Haus „Zur Roten Kuppe“ The „Sun King“ Louis XIV stayed here when he visited Breisach under French rule. Kapftor - One of the gates leading to the historic part of Breisach; built in 12th century.
Wines and other regional specialities Exquisite restaurants as well as cosy inns invite visitors to get a taste of the famous Alsatian-Badonian cuisine of the region. Regional wines and sparkling wines can be tasted during a visit to one of the local wineries: Badischer Winzerkeller: one of Europeâ€™s largest wineries, producing wines from all over Baden. Baden is well-known as a wine region within Germany and beyond the borders. www.badischer-winzerkeller.de Geldermann: the sparkling-wine cellar which produces wines according to the champagne method. www.geldermann.de Weinhaus St. Remigius: an example of a smaller winery, situated in the village of Niederrimsingen which belongs to Breisach. Their vineyards are situated in the Kaiserstuhl and the Tuniberg wine area. The winery also produces schnaps and offers a holiday flat. www.weingut-st-remigius.de
The Kaiserstuhl wine region In the Rhine Valley nature has created a small paradise - the Kaiserstuhl. A region which produces famous wines, situated on the sunniest side among the vineyards of Baden-WĂźrttemberg. The history of Kaiserstuhl is closely connected to its wines. Volcanic rock, a lot of sun, and the care of the vineyards by the winegrowing families are responsible for the quality of the wines. Guests will be treated to culinary delights at numerous wine events and festivals. The region is also famous as a paradise for people who like nature. Especially in spring, when almond and fruit treese are in full blossom, and daily temperatures often approach summertime levels. Naturalists and orchid enthusiasts, find the Kaiserstuhl a veritable Mecca. Besides the unique experience that nature offers, there are many opportunities for leisurely excursions such as biking on or around the Kaiserstuhl or on its smaller companion, the Tuniberg. Whether boating on the Rhine or a visit of other destinations in Baden and the Black Forest or in neighboring Alsace and Switzerland, you will not have a boring moment.
Leisure time and shopping without borders The â€žUnterstadtâ€? (lower town), situated at the foot of the cathedral hill, is the meeting point for shopping and taking a break. Try the famous Black Forest gateau in one of the cafes or home-made ice cream in the parlours near the market square. In the shops of the lower town you will definitely find a present or souvenir to take home. Breisach is an ideal starting point for Freiburg, the Black Forest, Alsace (Colmar, Strasbourg) and Switzerland (Basle). You can reach most of the places by public transport.
Neuf-Brisach – UNESCO world heritage Neuf-Brisach is Breisach’s twin city, situated in France, only 5 kms from the border. As a strategic stopping-place close to the Rhine, it was built in 1699 by Vauban on Louis XIV’s orders to ensure the security of Alsace. The fortress is a unique site in Europe. It was Vauban’s last fortified town, and it offers a remarkable view of the most accomplished defence system of the 17th century. If you really want to appreciate this architectural site, with its ramparts and its bastions still intact, take a walk around the fortifications. Neuf-Brisach gives the visitor the opportunity to imagine how a giant project arose on the backs of men and mules. As you walk between tenailles and counterguards, your attention will also turn towards the defensive and attack strategy of the place. In 2008, Vauban’s universal and outstanding genius was recognized by the UNESCO. NeufBrisach is now one of the 12 sites inscribed on the World Heritage List. The site was chosen for its position in a plain, as well as for its accomplished defence system, a star-shaped construction shown in the photo above.
Colmar The capital of Alsacian wines is situated only 25 kms away from Breisach. Nestled among vineyards, its traditional houses, canals, floral displays, amazing cuisine, famous wines and charming accommodation make Colmar an outstanding microcosm of Alsace. Besides, with its 67,000 inhabitants, Colmar retains a ‘country town’ atmosphere which contributes so much to its charm. Wonderfully preserved from the ravages of time, its homogenous historical centre is classed as a ‘protected area’ and has benefited from careful restoration and ongoing improvements for more than 20 years. Every season, it offers a richly diverse range of cultural, sporting, nature, relaxation, and culinary enjoyments. You will be easily tempted by this enchanting «country town». Colmar will also delight you with the quality of its shops and boutiques that will allow you bring a small part of Alsace back with you in your luggage! In every street of the historic centre you will find shops upon shops offering «made in Alsace» products.
Freiburg The University city with its historical town centre is situated just 25 km outside of Breisach. Freiburg is one of the sunniest cities in Germany, and has more to offer than sunny and friendly faces alone, including one of Germany’s prettiest old quarters, with its characteristic Bächle – the narrow channels of water that run alongside the pavements. Add to that a wealth of culture and history, lots of cafés and cosy bars, delicious regional food and scenic surroundings. What’s more, the overall atmosphere is easygoing and laid-back. It’s almost – in a word – mediterranean. Experience it for yourself with a stroll through the old quarter overlooked by the 116-metre-tall spire of the stunning minster, one of Germany’s most beautiful religious buildings. The square on which it stands is the largest in the city centre, and hosts a market every day except Sunday. The square’s main sights are the Historical Merchants’ Hall from 1532 with its deep-red facade and colourful corner towers, the Museum of Municipal History in the Haus Zum Schönen Eck from 1761, and the Alte Wache, now the House of Badonian Wines – certainly not the worst use for this beautiful old guardhouse! The other major square in the old quarter is Augustinerplatz. Overlooked by an Augustinian abbey and the remains of the city wall, this is a popular rendezvous for locals, which probably has something to do with the stone steps that flank one side. The lively atmosphere here is strongly reminiscent of the Spanish Steps in Rome. Let’s continue to Rathausplatz, location of the Old and New Town Hall, gothic St. Martin’s Church and a fountain with a statue of monk and alchemist Berthold Schwarz, who supposedly invented gunpowder here in the city.