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History of KATZENTHAL ...

Katzenthal's story ...

Not far from Colmar, located along the RN 415 road, the valley of Katzenthal has been inhabited from the earliest times and during the Roman period.

Katzenthal.jpgThe first mention of the village comes from a title deed dated 1185 in which Pope Lucius III confirms the ownership of the abbey of Pairis over, amongst others, ‘Chacindale’, a gift from the great Eguisheim family. In turn, the abbey of Marbach was confirmed as the owner of ‘Kancendale’ in 1212 and the Chapter of St Dié received a gift of land at ‘Kazzindal’ in 1233. In the same year, a chapel was built there by André de Giersberg, and a second one in 1249 by the Beguines (lay religious communities), who settled at Ammerschwihr in 1288 and then Colmar (convent of Sainte Catherine).

Katzenthal belonged to the House of Austria and was a fiefdom of the Counts of Ribeaupierre. By 1521 Katzenthal was part of the domain of Hohlandsberg, held by the Counts of Lupfen, the baron Lazare de Schwendi (1563) and his descendants in the town of Colmar (1714-1789).

During the 14th century, the domain, with its French style formal garden, was gradually broken up. Physically untouched during the First World War, 90% of Katzenthal was destroyed by shelling during the battle of the Colmar Pocket in December 1944.

Skillfully rebuilt, the village is one of the jewels of Alsace’s wine-growing areas.

The history of the Château of Wineck (12th century) ...

The "château of Wineck", built around the year 1200, towers proudly above the village of Katzenthal.
It is the only castle in Alsace to be surrounded by vineyards.

It passed through the hands of the counts of Ferrette, the Bishop of Strasbourg and the dukes of Habsburg, being held as a sub fief by the Wineck, then the Rathsamhausen families.

Renovated in the 14th century, the castle is finally abandoned in the 15th century, having lost its strategic role. It was bought in 1866 by the the Alsatian society for the Preservation of Historical buildings, and finally brought out of neglect and restored from 1972 onwards by the "Amis du Wineck Société" (Friends of Wineck society) which aims to restore and preserve the castle.

This excellent example of a successful restoration program, based on voluntary work, has been instrumental in preserving an important part of Alsace’s mediaeval heritage and history.

Magnificently restored, the castle is open to the public, who will enjoy an outstanding view over the vineyards and the Alsatian plain from the top of the keep.

Paul Spannagel