Alsace’s multi-faceted identity was forged over time: historically by the region’s turbulent past, and geographically by its location at the crossroads of countries and cultures. Alsace’s diversity proudly shines at its museums and tourist sites exploring the region’s history.
The Middle Ages, WWI, and WWII: as a border region, Alsace held an advantageous position for fortified castles and military sites. These events disrupted the daily lives of Alsatians but enriched the region’s art, traditions, religious heritage, humanism, and its attachment to Europe.
There are nearly 80 fortified castles all throughout Alsace. These stone sentinels dominate the ridges and watch over the Plain of Alsace, including Haut Koenigsburg Castle that was renovated by William II of Hohenzollern. A visit to a castle pairs perfectly with a hike, a cycle, or one of the many activities and events on offer.
War memorials, trenches, fortifications, and military vestiges testify to the harrowing battles that took place in Alsace. The regions of Alsace and Moselle were ceded to Germany during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 between Napoleon’s France and a coalition of German states led by Prussia. These regions remained a part of Germany until November 1918. World War I and World War II moved the borders once again, and Strasbourg was chosen to be the cradle of Europe and of the new-found peace between Germany and France.
At the crossroads of several cultures and civilizations, Alsace was shaped by its rich and often tumultuous history. Its religious heritage reflects its diverse origins: churches, temples, mosques, and synagogues with architecture reflecting the stylistic evolution of each denomination.
Rain or shine, the museums of Alsace are open for learning and exploring the wonders of Alsace with guided tours and temporary exhibitions. Industrial tourism, crafts, remembrance tourism, or castle tours: it’s all here. Tourist passes give access to lots of attractions at a reduced price!
Have you heard of the Oumpapa? What about Hans im Schnokaloch? It’s high time to expand your knowledge with our great folklore groups! The arts and traditions of Alsace are on display every day in its museums, and of course at the Ecomuseum of Alsace.