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Wissembourg ( ; South Franconian: Weisseburch, ; ) is a commune in the Bas-Rhin department in Alsacemarker in northeastern Francemarker.

It is situated on the little River Lautermarker close to the border between Francemarker and Germanymarker approximately north of Strasbourgmarker and west of Karlsruhemarker. Wissembourg is a sub-prefecture of the department. The name Wissembourg is merely a Gallicized version of Weißenburg (Weissenburg) in German meaning, "white castle".


The Benedictine abbey around which the town has grown was founded in the 7th century, perhaps under the patronage of Dagobert I. The abbey was supported by vast territories. Of the 11th century buildings constructed under the direction of Abbot Samuel, only the Schartenturm and some moats remain. The town was fortified in the 13th century. The abbey church of Saint-Pierre et Paul, erected in the same century under the direction of Abbot Edelin was secularized in the French Revolution and despoiled of its treasures; in 1803 it became the parish church, resulting in the largest parish church of Alsace, only exceeded in size by the cathedral of Strasbourg. At the Abbey in the late 9th century, the monk Otfried composed a gospel harmony, the first substantial work of verse in German.

In 1354 Charles IV made it one of the grouping of ten towns called the Decapolis that survived annexation by France under Louis XIV in 1678 and was extinguished with the French Revolution. On 25 January 1677 a great fire destroyed many houses and the Hôtel de Ville; its replacement dates from 1741–52. Many early structures were spared: the Maison du Sel (1448), under its Alsatian pitched roof was the first hospital of the town. There are many 15th and 16th-century timber-frame houses, and parts of the walls and gateways of the town. The Maison de Stanislas was the retreat of Stanislas Leszczinski, ex-king of Poland, from 1719 to 1725, when the formal request arrived, 3 April 1725 asking for the hand of his daughter in marriage to Louis XV. The first Battle of Wissembourg took place near the town in 1793.

Church of Saints-Pierre et Paul.
formed the setting for the Romantic novel L’ami Fritz (1869) co-written by the team of Erckmann and Chatrian, which provided the material for Mascagni's opera L'Amico Fritz.

Another Battle of Wissembourg took place on 4 August 1870. It was the first battle of the Franco-Prussian War. The Prussians were nominally commanded by the Crown Prince Frederick, but ably directed by his Chief of Staff, General Leonhard Graf von Blumenthal. The Frenchmarker defeat allowed the Prussianmarker army to move into France. The Geisburg monument commemorates the event.

Notable people


The picturesque town, set in a landscape of rolling wheat fields, retains a former Augustinian convent (1279) with its large-scale gothic church, now the parish of Saints-Pierre-et-Paul; other medieval churches are the Église Saint-Jean, and the Église Saint-Ulrich. Its Grenier aux Dîmes (tithe barn) belonging to the Abbey is 18th century but an ancient foundation. Noteworthy houses are the medieval "Salt house", the Renaissance "House of l'Ami Fritz" and the imposing classicist City Hall, a work by Joseph Massol. Also Visiting the Pastery Shop Rebere as it's one of the oldest, and the top 100 in French Pastery.

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