History museum

Museum of City History

Rheintorplatz 1,  79206 Breisach am Rhein

Experience 4,000 years of Breisach settlement and city history in the Museum of City History in the Rheintor !

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he Rhine Gate was built in 1678 by the French fortress builder Jacques Tarade according to plans by Vauban on the site of a medieval predecessor building as a magnificent new entrance gate to the then French town of Breisach. With its elaborately decorated western façade, it is one of the most beautiful fortress gates still preserved in Europe today. After many different uses, it has housed the Museum of Town History since 1991.

The permanent exhibition takes you from the Stone Age to the Celtic period, when Breisach was a princely seat, to the Romans: From the 1st - 4th century, there was a Roman settlement on the Münsterberg and an important fort with an imposing praetorium. Numerous small finds testify to a partly luxurious life on the prominent mountain on the Rhine at that time.

In the early Middle Ages Breisach was a central place, which gave its name to the surrounding Gau: Breisach-Gau Breisgau. The artefacts and replicas on display illustrate life at that time in the emerging settlement, which was soon to acquire the importance of a town, a trading center for goods from all over Europe. In our museum, adults and children even have the opportunity to slip into the typical garments of the Alamanni and have themselves photographed in them !

The tour will then lead you to objects of daily use of the Middle Ages, dishes, glasses, stove tiles and findings from the former castle (12th-18th centuries), which is exhibited as a model.

The history of the various monasteries that were located here and of St. Stephen's Cathedral is presented to you in texts, pictures, statues of saints and parts of the valuable cathedral treasure.

The model of a coin workshop refers to the long tradition of minting coins in Breisach from the 10th to the 17th century. The fact that Breisach even had high jurisdiction until the beginning of the 19th century is made clear by a "Zankgeige" and an original judge's sword.

The 17th and 18th century were formative for our town: always new fortifications were built, by the Austrians and by the French, depending on the country to which they belonged.

Famous fortress builders worked here, such as Daniel Specklin, Jacques Tarade and finally Sébastien le Prestre Marquis de Vauban. Several museum panels tell about the battles during the Thirty Years' War, and impressive, detailed models of the fortress give an impression of the most important fortress in Europe at that time, which Maria Theresa ordered to be razed in 1742- 45.

Some showcases are dedicated to the garrison town 1893-1919 and the life of the soldiers in the town and the barracks.

The tour ends with impressive photos of the destruction of Breisach in the Second World War and the reconstruction up to the "European City".

Due to the almost complete destruction of Breisach in 1945, much of its eventful history was lost, so that the museum has only a few objects from the 19th and 20th centuries in its holdings and can show them. Changing special exhibitions in cooperation with the city archive try to fill these gaps, especially through documents and photos.

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