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Colmar

| May 20, 2012 | 0 Comments

Colmar holds the distinction of being among the most beautiful and interesting communes in France. It is situated within the Haut-Rhin department of Alsace, a region in the northeastern part of the country. Colmar is famous to be the “Capital of Alsatian Wine.”

The commune was founded during the ninth century, and for a time was under the rule of the Romans. This changed in 1226, when it became the first of the Holy Roman Empire’s free imperial cities. Over the years, Colmar was annexed to France. There had been times, too, when it was taken by invading forces, but it had also been returned for a number of times.

One of Colmar’s earliest claims to international fame is the Colmar Treasure or the Colmar Hoard, which was excavated from a wall of a house in the commune’s medieval Rue des Juifs. The Colmar Treasure is a stash of precious objects found in the commune, believed to have been buried by the Jews at about the same time as the occurrence of the Black Death, one of the most devastating pandemic outbreaks in human history.

Colmar is also the birthplace of notable personalities. Among them are artists such as Martin Schongauer, a painter and engraver, Frederick Auguste Bartholdi, a sculptor who created the original Statue of Liberty, Jean-Jacques Waltz, an artists and caricaturist; writers like Georg Wickram, a poet and novelist; and musicians that include Marie Bigot, a musician, Jean-Baptiste Lemire, a composer, Pierre Moerlen, a musician, and Thomas Bloch, a musician. Colmar’s sons and daughters also made a name for themselves in the military and in politics, with famed people like Antoine Xavier Natal, a brigadier during the French Revolution, Jean-François Rewbell, a diplomat and revolutionist, Jean Rapp, a military general, Armand Joseph Bruat, an admiral, Georges-Charles de Heeckeren d’Anthes, a politician who gained infamy when he killed Alexander Pushkin in a duel, and Camille See, a politician. Colmar also produced scientists (Charles Xavier Thomas, an inventor), sports personalities (Guy Roux, a football coach, as well as football players Marc Keller and Amaury Bischoff), culinary experts (pastry chef Pierre Herme), and beauty queens (Laetitia Bleger, crowned Miss France 2004).

Apart from its brilliant past, the Colmar of today also offers a lot of attractions—perhaps the reason why it remains so popular with tourists. The commune is a showcase of French and German architecture, which adorns many of the its landmarks. Its religious buildings are a favorite destination. Among these are the Eglise Saint-Martin, the largest church in Colmar and one of the largest in Haut-Rhin, the Eglise des Dominicains, the Eglise Saint-Matthieu, the Couvent des Antonins and the Eglise Sainte-Catherine, which both house convent buildings, and the Chapelle Saint-Pierre, a Classicist chapel of a former Jesuit college; Synagogue. It has remarkable fountains such as the Fontaine de l’Amiral Bruat, Fontaine Roeselmann, and Fontaine Schwendi as well as monuments like the Monument du General Rapp, Monument Hirn, Statue “Les grands soutiens du monde,” and the replica of the Statue of Liberty.

The museums also hold fascinating treasures. Among the most popular of these are the Unterlinden Museum, the Musee Bartholdi, the Musee d’Histoire Naturelle et d’Ethnographie, the Musee du Jouet, and the Musee des Usines Municipales. It Municipal Library of Colmar is another gem, which boasts of one of the richest collections of material.

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Category: Alsace

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