And if Vauban had been a gardener

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Clou de jalonnement circuit Vauban


From garden to garden, these marker studs show us the way to go, with the Place Abbatucci as a start and finish point.

Bird garden

Basel only a stone’s throw away …

You should know that during the 17th century, Huningue had engraved in its cast-iron cannons, “Basel if you move, we’ll burn you down!” The city really had nothing hospitable about it with the soldiers all shut away in the fortification …

Today we can truly mock this past when we see endless pedestrians and cyclists of all nationalities strolling around the city, and along the river which presently brings the cities and mankind together. Also affected by this change, the Rhine has been an inspirational source for many poets. With its banks planted like before with willow trees and other marsh plants – feet in the water and facing the sun – it has once again become the refuge for endemic species on the Île du Rhin, such as the elegant goldfinch, the song thrush or even the great tit which I’ve had the pleasure of watching, pecking within these flowered, overgrown meadows, which serve as copious open-air feeding grounds … ideal during the winter!

Vauban jardinier : illustration Jardin des Oiseaux


Huningue on loan

Pawned to Basel several years earlier by the penniless Habsburgs, Huningue became Austrian again in 1623 when the Archduke Leopold firmly asserted his rights to the Basel inhabitants who claimed the property as their own and didn’t want to sell it back. The loan reimbursement and the promise of a financial compensation nonetheless dissuaded the Swiss from taking up arms.

Sold in 1638 to a banker who looked after the wages and the supplies of the imperial troops, Huningue became the barony of Grand-Huningue. This handover obliged the banker to pay damages to the heirs of Jean Conrad de Flachslander who proved they were already the owners: the Archduke Leopold has already sold Huningue to their ancestors as of 1623!

The Bale inhabitants then tried recuperating Huningue, at first in the name of the financial compensation which they had never received, and then by using diplomacy. In vain. Losing this essential territory then became considered as a major loss as rumours were already spreading that Louis XIV was building some fortifications …

Basel in the fortress history

Nothing had ever been easy between Basel and Huningue. First off, due to the geographical location of Huningue which the French, Austrians and Swiss all wanted to control. And also because Huningue was intimidating with its fortifications and canons, feared by its Basel neighbours who would do anything to avoid its construction.

In 1816, the siege of Huningue by Austrian troops is a good example of their conflictual relations: the General Barbanègre held Basel liable for the sabotage of the ship mill on the Rhine and decided to retaliate with cannon fire on its neighbour, panic-stricken faced with a situation which they hadn’t experienced for over a thousand years! At the end of the month of August, Barbanègre was forced into surrender due to the determination and excessive pressure exerted by the Archduke John of Austria.

The Basel inhabitants then demanded and obtained the demolition of the Huningue fortifications which began on October 18, 1815.

Bâle vers 1660

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