Colmar (, ; Alsatian
: ' ; German
during 1871–1918 and 1940–1945: ') is a city and commune
in the Haut-Rhin department
and Grand Est region
of north-eastern France
. The third-largest commune in Alsace
), it is the seat of the prefecture
of the Haut-Rhin department and of the subprefecture
of the Colmar-Ribeauvillé arrondissement
The city is renowned for its well-preserved old town, its numerous architectural landmarks, and its museums, among which is the Unterlinden Museum
, which houses the ''Isenheim Altarpiece
Colmar is situated on the Alsatian Wine Route
and considers itself to be the "capital of Alsatian wine" (').
Colmar was first mentioned by Charlemagne
in his chronicle about Saxon wars.
This was the location where the Carolingian
Emperor Charles the Fat
held a diet
in 884. Colmar was granted the status of a free imperial city
by Emperor Frederick II
In 1354 it joined the Décapole
[G. Köbler, ''Historisches Lexikon der deutschen Länder'', 7th edition, C.H. Beck, Munich, 2007.]
The city adopted the Protestant Reformation
in 1575, long after the northern neighbours of Strasbourg
During the Thirty Years' War
, it was taken by the Swedish
army in 1632, which held it for two years. In 1634 the Schoeman family arrived and started the first town library. In 1635 the city's harvest was spoiled by Imperialist forces while the residents shot at them from the walls.
The city was conquered by France under King Louis XIV
in 1673 and officially ceded by the 1679 Treaties of Nijmegen
. In 1854 a cholera
epidemic killed many in the city.
With the rest of Alsace, Colmar was annexed by the newly formed German Empire
in 1871 as a result of the Franco-Prussian War
and incorporated into the Alsace-Lorraine
province. It returned to France after World War I
according to the 1919 Treaty of Versailles
, was annexed by Nazi Germany
in 1940, and then reverted to French control after the battle of the "Colmar Pocket
" in 1945. Colmar has been continuously governed by conservative parties since 1947, the Popular Republican Movement
(1947–1977), the Union for French Democracy
(1977–1995) and the Union for a Popular Movement
(since 1995), and has had only three mayors during that time.
The Colmar Treasure
, a hoard of precious objects hidden by Jews during the Black Death
, was discovered here in 1863.
Colmar is south-southwest of Strasbourg
, at 48.08°N, 7.36°E, on the Lauch River, a tributary of the Ill
. It is located directly to the east of the Vosges
and connected to the Rhine
in the east by a canal
In 2017, the city had a municipal population of 69,105,
and the metropolitan area
of Colmar had a population of 131,639 in 2016. Colmar is the center of the arrondissement of Colmar-Ribeauvillé
, which had 211,312 inhabitants in 2017.
Colmar has a sunny microclimate
and is one of the driest cities in France, with an annual precipitation of just , making it ideal for Alsace wine
. It is considered the capital of the Alsatian wine region.
The dryness results from the town's location next to mountains, which force clouds arriving from the west to rise, and much of their moisture to condense and fall as precipitation
over the higher ground, leaving the air warmed and dried by the time it reaches Colmar. Summers are warm, while winters are moderately cold.
Mostly spared from the destructions of the French Revolution
and the wars of 1870–1871
, the cityscape of old-town Colmar is homogenous and renowned among tourists. An area that is crossed by canals of the river Lauch (which formerly served as the butcher's, tanner's and fishmonger's quarter) is now called "little Venice
Colmar's secular and religious architectural landmarks reflect eight centuries of Germanic and French architecture and the adaptation of their respective stylistic language to the local customs and building materials (pink and yellow Vosges sandstone
, timber framing
*Maison Adolph – 14th century (German Gothic
*Koïfhus, also known as Ancienne Douane
– 1480 (German Gothic)
*Maison Pfister – 1537 (German Renaissance
*Ancien Corps de garde – 1575 (German Renaissance)
*Maison des Chevaliers de Saint-Jean – 1608 (German Renaissance)
*Maison des Têtes – 1609 (German Renaissance)
*Poêle des laboureurs – 1626 (German Baroque
*Ancien Hôpital – 1736–1744 (French Classicism
*Tribunal de grande instance – 1771 (French Classicism)
*Hôtel de ville – 1790 (French Classicism)
–- 1791, formerly a convent built in 1316.
*Cour d'Assises – 1840 (French Neoclassicism
– 1849 (French Neoclassicism)
*Marché couvert – 1865 (French Neo-Baroque
). The city's covered market, built in stone, bricks and cast iron, still serves today.
*Préfecture – 1866 (French Neo-Baroque)
*Water tower – 1886. Oldest still preserved water tower
in Alsace. Out of use since 1984.
*Gare SNCF – 1905 (German Neo-Baroque)
*Cour d'appel – 1906 (German Neo-Baroque)
* ' – 1234–1365. The largest church of Colmar and one of the largest in Haut-Rhin. Displays some early stained glass windows, several Gothic and Renaissance sculptures and altars, a grand Baroque organ case. The choir is surrounded by an ambulatory opening on a series of Gothic chapels, a unique feature in Alsatian churches.
* ' – 1289–1364. Now disaffected as a church, displays Martin Schongauer
's masterwork ''La Vierge au buisson de roses'' as well as 14th century stained glass windows and baroque choir stalls. The adjacent convent
buildings house a section of the municipal library.
* ' – 13th century. Gothic and Renaissance stained glass windows and mural paintings, as well as a wooden and painted ceiling.
* ' – 13th century. Disaffected church and convent buildings notable for a richly ornate cloister. Now housing the Unterlinden Museum (see below).
* ' – 1371. Disaffected church and convent buildings now used as an assembly hall and festival venue (').
*' – 1742–1750. Classicist chapel of a former Jesuit
* Synagogue – 1843 (Neoclassicism)
* ' – 1864 (Statue by Bartholdi
* ' – 1888 (Statue by Bartholdi)
* ' – 1898 (Statue by Bartholdi)
* ' – 1856 (first shown 1855 in Paris. Statue by Bartholdi, his earliest major work)
* ' – 1894 (Statue by Bartholdi)
* Statue ' − 1902 (in the courtyard of the Bartholdi Museum)
* Statue of Liberty
(''Liberty Enlightening the World'') replica
* Unterlinden Museum
– one of the main museums in Alsace. Displays the Isenheim Altarpiece
, a large collection of medieval, Renaissance and baroque Upper-Rhenish
paintings and sculptures, archaeological artefacts, design and international modern art.
* Musée Bartholdi
– the birthplace of Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi
shows his life and work through paintings, drawings, family objects and furniture as well as numerous plaster, metal and stone sculptures. A section of the museum is further dedicated to the local Jewish community's heritage
* ' – the zoological and ethnographic museum of Colmar was founded in 1859. Besides a large collection of taxidermied animals, and artefacts from former French and German colonies in Africa and Polynesia
, it also houses a collection of ancient Egypt
* ' – the town's toy museum, founded 1993
* ' – industrial and technological museum in a former factory, dedicated to the history of everyday technology.
The Municipal Library of Colmar (') owns one of the richest collections of incunabula
in France, with more than 2,300 volumes. This is quite an exceptional number for a city that is neither the main seat of a university, nor of a college, and has its explanation in the dissolution of local monasteries
s and convent
s during the French Revolution
and the subsequent gift of their collections to the town.
The small regional Colmar Airport
The railway station Gare de Colmar
offers connections to Strasbourg, Mulhouse, Besançon, Zürich and several regional destinations. Colmar was also once linked to Freiburg im Breisgau
, in Germany and on the other side of the Rhine
, by the Freiburg–Colmar international railway
. However the railway bridge over the Rhine between Breisach
was destroyed in 1945 and never replaced.
Senior high schools in Colmar include:
*Lycée Camille Sée
*Lycée polyvalent Blaise Pascal
*Lycée polyvalent Martin Schongauer
*Lycée privé Saint-André
*Lycée professionnel privé Saint-Jean
*Ecole privée Mathias Grunewald
Colmar shares the (Upper Alsace University
) with the neighbouring, larger city of Mulhouse
. Of the approximately 8,000 students of the UHA, around 1,500 study at the ' (IUT) Colmar, at the Colmar branch of the ' and at the ' (UFR PEPS).
The ''École Compleméntaire Pour L'Enseignement Japonaise a Colmar'' (コルマール補習授業校 ''Korumāru Hoshū Jugyō Kō''), a part-time supplementary Japanese school
, is held in Colmar.
(). Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). Retrieved on 10 May 2014. "Chateau Kiener 24, rue de Verdun, 68000 Colmar, FRANCE"
At one time classes were held at the ''Centre Cultural de Seijo''.
Since 1980, Colmar is home to an international summer festival of classical music
' (also known as '). In its first version (1980 to 1989), it was placed under the artistic direction of the German conductor Karl Münchinger
. Since 1989, it is helmed by the Russian violinist and conductor Vladimir Spivakov
Colmar is an affluent city whose primary economic strength lies in the flourishing tourist industry. But it is also the seat of several large companies: Timken
(European seat), Liebherr
(French seat), Leitz
(French seat), Capsugel France (A division of Pfizer
Every year since 1947, Colmar is host to what is now considered as the biggest annual commercial event as well as the largest festival in Alsace, the ''Foire aux vins d'Alsace'' (Alsacian wine fair).
When Air Alsace
existed, its head office was on the grounds of Colmar Airport
Parks and recreation
By 1991 ''Lycée Seijo
'', a Japanese boarding high school in Kientzheim
, had established a Japanese cultural center. It housed books and printed materials in Japan and hosted lectures and film screenings.
[Iwasaki, Toshio. "Japanese Schools Take Root Overseas." ''Journal of Japanese Trade & Industry''. Japan Economic Foundation (JEF, ''Kokusai Keizai Kōryū Zaidan''), No. 5, 1991. Contributed to Google Books by the JEF. p. 25. "Seijo Gakuen has established a cultural center in the nearby city of Colmar which is used to hold lectures introducing aspects of Japan, to show movies, and to keep books and printed materials oii Japan."]
* Caspar Isenmann
(1410? – 1484?), painter
* Martin Schongauer
(1450–1491), painter and engraver
* Georg Wickram
(1502–1562), poet and novelist
* Jean-François Rewbell
(1747–1807), diplomat and revolutionist
* Jean Rapp
(1771–1821), lieutenant general
* Conrad Berg
* Charles Xavier Thomas
* Marie Bigot
(1786–1820), musician, French pianist and composer, friend of Haydn
* Armand Joseph Bruat
* Georges-Charles de Heeckeren d'Anthès
(1812–1895), politician, killer of Alexander Pushkin
in a duel
* Auguste Nefftzer
* Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi
(1834–1904), sculptor, created ''Liberty Enlightening the World'' (the Statue of Liberty
* Camille Sée
, (1847–1919), politician
* Jean-Baptiste Lemire
* Jean-Jacques Waltz
(1873–1951), drawer and caricaturist
* Ernst Stadler
(1883-1914), Alsatian poet
* Bernard Schmitt (economist)
(1929-2014), economist and founder of the "Quantum Economics"
* Guy Roux
(born 1938), French football coach
* Pierre Moerlen
(1952-2005), musician, drummer and composer
* Pierre Hermé
(born 1961), confectioner, entrepreneur and pastry chef
* Thomas Bloch
(born 1962), musician
* Éric Straumann
(born 1964), politician
* Marc Keller
(born 1968), football player
* Cendrine Wolf
(born 1969), children's author
* Pascal Johansen
(born 1979), football player
* Amaury Bischoff
(born 1987), football player
(born 1989), professional cyclist
* Ryad Boudebouz
(born 1990), Algerian-French footballer
Twin towns – sister cities
Colmar is twinned
* Schongau, Bavaria
, Germany (1962)
, Italy (1962)
, United States (1986)
, Belgium (1962)
* Vale of White Horse
, England, United Kingdom (1978)
, Austria (1983)
Replicas of historical buildings in Malaysia
Bukit Tinggi Resort Colmar Tropicale
which is situated in Bentong
district, State of Pahang
is a resort-theme historical village inspires from the original Colmar commune in France. Colmar Tropicale located just an hour or 60 km north-east of Kuala Lumpur
North of it, a rebuild of Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg
is in the Berjaya Hills, hosting an organic resort hotel .
Colmar's cityscape (and neighbouring Riquewihr
's) served for the design of the Japanese animated film ''Howl's Moving Castle
''. Scenes in the anime ''Is the Order a Rabbit?
'' are also based on this location.
* List of mayors of Colmar
Official website of the city of ColmarWine domain of the city of ColmarTourist office of ColmarColmar Music Festival
Category:Communes of Haut-Rhin
Category:Free imperial cities
Category:Populated places established in the 9th century
Category:Prefectures in France