I found this aerial map of Eguisheim in the tourism office this morning. We are staying right in the “Centre Ville” (town centre), overlooking the chapel and the statue of Pope Léon IX.
We took a walk around the village this morning to discover more about its history.
Built in the 13th century, traditional houses are half timber and half cement with stone floors. Nowadays many of them are brightly painted but originally they were quite plain.
Eguisheim was built in a concentric shape primarily to protect its tithe barns. During the Middle Ages, farmers were ordered to give one-tenth of their produce to the church to support the priests; these tithes were stored in barns within the village walls to guard against looting.
Eguisheim was an important trade route on the road towards Rome. There were two fortified entrances to the village, requiring a toll to be paid.
When people built their houses, it was customary to engrave their initials and the date of completion into the timber. They also often marked their homes with the symbol “IHS” (Jesus, Saviour of Men).
Stone engravings sometimes indicated the profession of the person living there.
A small château was built in the year 1000. In the year 1002, Bruno Eguisheim was born in that small castle. In 1049 he was canonised Pope Léon IX and served for 5 years.
The building fell to ruin and was rebuilt for use as a chapel in the 1800s.
This is the chapel today (on the left behind the octagonal stone wall)
“La porte” (the door)
“Un mur” (a wall)
“Le plafonde” (the ceiling)
The nave and presbytery (Sorry, I don’t know what they are in French).
Church and Bell Tower
“Devant ” (facing forwards)
“Derrière (facing behind)
“Ma fênetre en verre-coloré préféré” (My favourite stained-glass window) Ok, I looked it up and I got it wrong. A stained-glass window is “un vitrail”. Alhors, “mon vitrail préféré”.
“Ma peinture préférée” (My favourite painting).
A 14th Century statue of the Virgin Mary. She holds her son because the way to Heaven is through her son, Jesus Christ. Inside of her are pictures of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
“Ma statue préféré”: “Une femme qui prie” (A woman who is praying).
Tithe courtyards were places where people came together to trade and barter within the city walls. There were as many as 20 in Eguisheim in the 1600s.
“C’est tout pour au jourd’hui” (That’s all for today).
[Please note that all the information shared is freely available on the plaques along ‘la Ronde d’Eguisheim’. It is all correct according to my interpretation of the content. I am open to correction.]