Sights of the Southern Rhine

Breisach


A medieval walled town dominated by its cathedral and still with many old gateways


Breisach is a popular berthing point for Rhine cruises and there are always plenty of river cruise boats moored along the river front.

River Rhine at Breisach

The town is just a few minutes walk and is dominated by St Stephen’s Cathedral built high above the town.

Breisach

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.
 
Breisach

Breisach

Fischerhalde with its brightly coloured houses, runs along the bottom of the cliff with the Minster 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.

Breisach

Breisach

In the Middle Ages it was an important settlement surrounded by formidable walls and gateways. Many of these survive, like the Gutgeselientor.
 
Gutgeselientor Breisach

Some of the gateways like Kapftor and Hagenbachturm were used as prisons.

Kaptor Breisach  Hagenbachturm, Breisach
 
Radbrunnenturm also known as Treadlewheel tower, was built over a deep well providing drinking water to the town, raised by a wooden treadle wheel.

Radbrunnenturm, Breisach       Treadlewheel, Radbrunnenturm, Breisach

The C17th Reintor to the north of the city is one of the best preserved fortified gateways in Europe. It is best seen from the other side. This now houses the History Museum.

Reintor, Breisach

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

Rathaus, Breisach

Rathaus, Breisach

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 Minster as the views across the roof tops of Breisach to the east are excellent.

Breisach

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

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