Saturday, 17 September 2016


I wonder how many of you are able to pronounce correctly the name of the town we will visit today, Neuf-Brisach. I know, I know, it is not easy. Still, we cannot allow it to discourage us from visiting a unique piece of architecture and urbanism, one of the sites designed and built by the French military engineer Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban who served Roi Soleil, king Louis XIV. Its construction started in 1699 which means that the town has celebrated its 300 anniversary not so long ago.

The universal values of the Vauban Fortifications was recognised by UNESCO who inscribed twelve of them (including Neuf-Brisach) on the World Heritage Sites List.

The fortified town was intended to guard the border between France and the Holy Roman Empire and, subsequently Germany. It is surrounded by a double moat delineated by city walls.

The inner moat is now used for an art exhibition. At least this is my assumption, unless these wooden piles are a sophisticated means of defence.

To enter the city, visitors need to take one of four gates in the fortifications. This one is called Porte de Colmar or the Gate of Colmar, since it faces the city of Colmar. It was probably a very smart design at the end of the seventeenth century but nowadays only one car can pass by the gates and the move of pedestrians is neither easy nor safe.

Once you stand at the porch, you can realise the protective value of the Vauban fortifications. The walls have several meters of depth.

When I entered into the town, I was almost disappointed. Neuf-Brisach proved to be just a small French town like any other.

In the middle you can find of course the market square. As you have noticed, it is quite large, which is part of the Vauban design, to protect the houses in case of cannon fire.

The church on the market square is dedicated to Saint Louis, the saint patron of Vauban's boss.

The layout of Neuf-Brisach was that of an ideal city, similar to Zamość which I have shown you some time ago. It has a regular square grid street pattern inside an octagonal fortification.


Unfortunately, it is not easy to appreciate it standing on the ground, it is only from bird-eye view that you can realise in full the amazing design that was brought to life by Monsieur Vauban. A real genius in my view.


1 comment:

  1. Ze względu na swoje zamiłowania w kierunku geografii urbanistycznej i zaświecenie oczu podczas zobaczenia planu oraz zdjęcia z góry, mogę napisać tylko jedno - chcę tam pojechać :D