Gengenbach is a town in the district of Ortenau, Baden-Württemberg, Germany and a popular tourist destination on the western edge of the Black Forest with about 11,000 inhabitants. Gengenbach is well known for its traditional Alemanic "fasnacht", ("Fasend"), a kind of historically influenced celebration of carnival, where tradition is followed, from wearing costumes with carved wooden masks to clapping with a "Ratsche" (a traditional-classic wooden "sound-producing" toy). Gengenbach also boasts a picturesque, traditional, medieval town centre ("Altstadt"). The traditional town Gengenbach is the proud owner of the world's biggest advent calendar. The 24 windows of the 18th century town hall represent the 24 "windows" of an Advent calendar. The town also hosts a department of The Graduate School of Offenburg University of Applied Sciences, part of the University of Applied Sciences Offenburg. The nearest cities in the region are Offenburg, Freiburg, Karlsruhe, Baden-Baden and Strasbourg/France. Gengenbach is twinned with the town of Obernai, Alsace, France.
Gengenbach was founded in the 13th century and was an Imperial Free City from 1360 until the Treaty of Lunéville in 1801. During the closing stages of the 1672-1678 Franco-Dutch War in July 1678, it was the site of a French victory over the Imperialists; it was badly damaged in 1689 by retreating French forces in the 1688-1697 Nine Years War.
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Gengenbach is the start point of Gengenbach–Alpirsbach Black Forest Trail and situated at the Kinzigtäler Jakobusweg (a pilgrim route) as well as the Kandelhöhenweg (a hiking path), passing by many landmarks. Furthermore, the city is located at the German Fachwerkstraße.
The town was the location of Gengenbach Abbey, founded in the 8th century; its associated church, the Stadtkirche Sankt Marien, was rebuilt after 1689 and contains a number of 18th century frescoes.
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