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.

The hospital garden

Have an iron constitution!

Like in each border-town or fortification which I built, Huningue had a military hospital in the 19th century with 118 beds and where doctors and surgeons looked after the sick or injured soldiers. They also wanted to prevent the contagious illnesses and epidemics which were causing even more deaths than war injuries.

The operating techniques were simple and extremely quick to basically decrease the pain for lack of any real anaesthetics. The pharmacopeia was just as ludicrous: bruises from cannon-balls were treated with brandy and rubbed-on ammonia, and both brandy and wine were used against diarrhoea …

Therefore, ingenious fortifications and iron constitutions were really the best guarantee for soldiers to stay alive!

Vauban jardinier : illustration Jardin de l'Hôpital

Le Jardin de l'Hôpital est un projet en cours
. Cet aménagement paysager sera entrepris après la complète restauration de la Poudrière, autre vestige de la place forte. Des travaux de sauvegarde ont déjà été réalisés en 2013 et 2016


Underground organisation

The Huningue stronghold had about 21 undergrounds, designed to shelter 2890 men from cannon fire. They were also used to store ammunition, grains and food. Within this incredible underground network, each gallery had a function. Some were used to deposit wine, brandy, tobacco, lard… Others were intended for cooking and keeping the bread during sieges and some others were even transformed into mills which worked using horses. Three galleries, among the best ventilated, were used as hospitals when the wars waged.

Emplacement de l'ancienne poudrière
La Poudrière

The place called “La Poudrière” – as it sits exactly on the site of one of the former powder storerooms – unfolds the remains of three of these galleries which were located under one of the five bastions. The whole underwent preservation work in 2008 and 2016.



Plant medicines

The small garden behind “La Poudrière” with all its medicinal plants is a reminder that the military hospital was just a few steps away. Its small, mysterious flower beds are preciously cared-for as the aromatic, sedative or healing plants have incredible powers. They are therapeutic when properly dosed as otherwise some of them can become dangerous poisons! Dioscorides, a disciple of Hippocrates (25 AD) already had a list of 609 plant-based “drugs”… and the Royal Garden of Medicinal Plants in Paris had around 2300 species during the 17th century!

A virtuous garden

The hospital garden modestly features mint, lemon balm, thyme and rosemary, with multiple effects when used either fresh or dry.

The beautiful Salvia officinalis sage plant also has its place, known for centuries for its stimulating properties and was even banished from the stadiums in ancient Greece. Sage is also diuretic, anticonvulsant, choleretic, antiseptic, anthelmintic… it has a worldwide reputation for boasting genuine universal remedies!

Valerian, borage, common mullein and many other species are here to discover in one of the flower beds in this virtuous garden!


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