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August, 2016

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Breisach is a popular berthing point for Rhine cruises and there are always plenty of river cruise boats moored along the river front. The town is just a few minutes walk and is dominated by “St Stephen’s Cathedral”:, built high above the town.

85% of the town was destroyed by bombing in the Second World War, and unlike many English towns, has been sympathetically rebuilt in the traditional style, retaining the medieval street plan and cobble streets. It has an attractive Market Place and a range of small shops.

Fischerhalde with its brightly coloured houses, runs along the bottom of the cliff with the Cathedral and overlooks the river. These originally were the homes of Rhine sailors and fishermen. Their carefully tended gardens with flowers and vegetables tumble down below the road.

In the Middle Ages it was an important settlement surrounded by formidable walls and gateways. The remains of the walls can still be seen in places along with the towers. Gutgeselientor is still one of the gateways into the town. Gateways like Kapftor and Hagenbachturm were used as prisons. Radbrunnenturm also known as Treadlewheel tower, was built over a deep well providing drinking water to the town, raised by a wooden treadle wheel.

The C17th Reintor to the north of the city is one of the best preserved fortified gateways in Europe. To see it at its best, it needs to be viewed from the Rhine, across Schwanenweher

The splendid pink Rathaus on Munsterberg with its tubs of bright red geraniums is the town hall.

Opposite is “St Stephen’s Cathedral”: which was built in the C12th. This was extensively damaged by bombing and only the west end survived. The rest of the building has been carefully restored to its original appearance. The new blends seamlessly into the old. It is a lovely building with C15th wall paintings surviving at the west end, lovely carved stone chancel arch and a superb reredos of the crowning of the Virgin. Perhaps the greatest treasure is the large silver reliquary in the glass altar in front of the chancel screen, which contains relics of the patronal saints, Gervasius and Protasius.

It is worth the steep climb to the Cathedral as the views across the roof tops of Breisach to the east are excellent.

A leaflet from Tourist Information in the Market Place has details of three walking trails around the town.

There are more pictures “here.”:


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