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Husseren-les-Châteaux

 

Husseren-les-Châteaux is a French commune located in the Haut-Rhin department, in the Grand Est region. This municipality is located in the historical and cultural region of Alsace and has the particularity of being entirely surrounded by the municipality of Eguisheim. Its inhabitants are called the Husserenois.

 

Destinations

Saint-Pancrace Church
The parish church of Saint-Pancrace was built on the site of an old church demolished in 1881. The current church built in 1884 was built in a neo-Gothic style. The choir of the church is vaulted in the shape of an ogive. The nave is flanked by aisles and a porch tower. The central portal, decorated with twin columns, bears the date of 1884. A painted decoration with interlacing motifs and stained glass windows enhance the interior ornamentation.

Former 18th century winemaker's farm
Located at 31, rue Principale, this winegrower's house built in sandstone and wood coated with cob dates back to the first half of the 18th century. The building is covered with a semi-hipped roof that can be found in many old houses in the Alsatian vineyard.

Polychrome wooden statue of Saint Pancrace
It is a polychrome, gilded and silver wooden statue with a height of 1.10 meters which is in the church. Saint Pancrace, born in Phrygia in 290, died as a martyr in Rome during the persecution of Diocletian in 304. He gave his name to a cardinal title. He is depicted holding a heart and a sword in his hand. Restored and re-gilded, the statue comes from the old church. It is now located in the upper niche of the right side altar of the current church.

The Three Castles
The Three Castles are located on rocky peaks. They are made up of three castles: Wahlenbourg and Weckmund, which are located on the bench of Husseren-les-Châteaux, and Dagsbourg, which belongs to Eguisheim. There is a path to get to the castles from Husseren-les-Châteaux: this path marked by the Club Vosgien is 3.2 km long, i.e. between 1 hour and 1 hour 30 minutes behind the church.

 

History

A village linked to the history of the three castles
Originally, on the site where the three castles stand today, there could be a Roman watchtower intended to monitor the region, possibly the invasions of the Germans. One or more watchtowers would indeed have offered a breathtaking view, this advance of mountains and hills towards the foothills can be considered a major strategic point.

The counts of Dabo-Eguisheim founded one of their castles up there in the 12th century. Two other seigneurial families, one with the support of the Lorrainers and the other the Hattstatt with the support of the King of Germany Hohenstauffen and his landvogt, redesigned the configuration of the place by also founding a castle there. Today, the three castles are nothing more than vestiges of a glorious medieval past.

Husseren-les-Châteaux is located at the foot of the Stauffen massif. It is not excluded that the old village could have been partly rebuilt in stone by the stonemasons and workers employed in the construction of the three castles of Eguisheim. The first massive stone towers were (re) built perhaps between the eleventh and twelfth centuries, but above all the castles were born in the twelfth century, the art of building is probably in line with the construction of the abbey of Marbach which is located near the town.

Husseren is mentioned under the name in Hüsern in 1245, then in a document from the archives of the bishopric of Basel bearing the year 1247. The village depends mainly on the noble family of Hattstatt. It then passed into the hands of the Schauenbourg family.

A convent of nuns
In the 13th century, Husseren-les-Châteaux had a nunnery under the rule of Saint Augustine which was transferred in 1259 to the Wehr valley in the Black Forest (in valle Werra), and later to Basel where he existed until the time of the Reformation.

 

Geography
The smallest town in Haut-Rhin, Husseren-les-Châteaux covers an area of ​​120 ha and is located 7 km from Colmar. When entering Husseren-les-Châteaux, you can see the three towers of the castle which dominate the village. It is perched on a ledge that rises to 387 meters above sea level, and the highest part, the Schlossberg, is at 591 meters. This village located on the foothills of the Vosges mountains is the culmination of the Alsace wine route. From the entrance to Husseren-les-Châteaux, you can clearly see the city of Colmar and in particular the ZUP.

Access
You can reach the town by taking the departmental road 83 at the west exit of Colmar. Coming from Mulhouse from the A35 motorway, take exit 28 towards Niederhergheim, Herrlisheim, Munster, Gérardmer. Follow the D 1bis to the RN 83, then take the Eguisheim exit, then Husseren-les-Châteaux. Coming from Strasbourg, take the A35 then the RN 83. Then take exit 23 towards Colmar, Houssen, Munster. Follow the RN 83 towards Belfort and take the Eguisheim exit, then Husseren-les-Châteaux.

Toponymy
Exa or Exsa would be the Latin name of a large Gallo-Roman estate, it could extend in whole or in part to the municipalities of Eguisheim and Husseren, culminating on the heights between the internal valley of the Fecht and the foothills Alsatian overlooking the Lauch river. Its Latin name Exa would come from its set back, its off-center character, both raised and particular, compared to the common traffic routes. An Alsatian variant Egse or Agse still applies to the three castles, sometimes translated into German not without ambiguity by "Die drei Hexe". The locality Husseren would come from the evolution of the Gallo-Roman toponym Exaravino or Exsaravino designating a sloping space or opening on a slope of a width greater than 180 ° and consequently on a wide point of view. A Gallo-Roman duplicate could have produced Euxharain then Huxherain in Romanesque. To explain the final form, the toponym is indeed adopted in the German-speaking world from the 7th or 9th century to leave the simple Alsatian form Husseren.

As early as the Renaissance, Latinist scholars and German-speaking Alsatian humanists noticed that the first three letter Hus was similar to the Alsatian form 's Hüs (without the definite neutral article' s), meaning the house, i.e. the neutral word das Haus in German. It was certain, according to them, that they had obtained without striking the root of the toponym. It is true that they found different fairly frequent forms of the microtoponymy of the Swabian ensemble, long before the French occupied and named Alsace and influenced forms by different processes of francization, often in military cartographer by simple phonetic adaptation, in "House" or "Hause".
But the Alsatian plural of this noun is Hiiser, that could pose a problem. To prove to a letter, that this toponym corresponds to an archaic plural, scholars have considered the corresponding word plural Middle High German "Husen", that is to say in modern German "Häuser", meaning "houses" . The translation into contemporary German of the Alsatian toponym, for example at the time of the German Reich, respecting the initial form supposed in Middle German, was quite logically Häusern. In this case, besides the plural, the name carries the ending of the dative, "-ern". In Middle High German, this marking gives an indication of the place where the subject is located. It is also a fairly common characteristic for hamlet names in Germany.

Finally, the current spelling, where the vowel of the stem is pointed, would transcribe the local Alsatian pronunciation (rather than the rounded pronunciation specific to German).

Finally, following this scholarly approach, the name of the current village can be translated by the expression "to the houses" with the plural mark, which is moreover curious for a specialist in the rural world who expects a qualifier of these. yet village dwellings, whether in Romanesque or Germanic areas.

Note that the expression “les châteaux” which is appended to the initial toponym only serves to distinguish it, for late administrative and postal reasons, in French, from its namesake in the south of Haut-Rhin, Husseren-Wesserling.