The History of Martinstor

IMG_4088Martinstor is one of the most recognizable buildings in Freiburg im Breisgau. Built in 1202, it served as one of the gates into the historic city center. Here are some other interesting things you might not know about the building:

  • In 1599, Martinstor was the site of Freiburg’s witch burnings during the medieval witch hunt. Today, there is a plague to commemorate three women who were burned there.
  • For 250 years, a painting of St. Martin of Tours (France) existed on the side facing the city center. It was removed in 1968 to make way for a new painting. Unfortunately, the city has so far been unable to decide what to put in its place, so the wall remains blank.
  • The Martinstor was originally much smaller than it is today. Around 1900, the city’s population was growing and the infrastructure needed to change. The city considered demolishing the Martinstor, but decided against it. Instead, it was enlarged. After tripling the height of the building, a green, gothic-style roof was added. Additionally, a second throughway was built so that the gate could accommodate two-way traffic.

Interested in learning more about Freiburg? Join us for a free walking tour of the city nearly every day at 11am! Check the Freiburg Free Walking Tour homepage to find out which days we are operating.

Did You Know Freiburg Was Bombed by the Germans?

It’s true.

On May 10th, 1940, the German Luftwaffe mistakenly bombed Freburg im Breisgau! Three aircraft left Landsberg-Lech Air Base that afternoon with the intention of bombing the French city of Dijon. Unfortunately, they got lost along the way and never found their destination.

They did, however, locate the Rhein river and decided that bombing the town of Colmar would be good enough. Once again, they were mistaken. Freiburg is roughly the same distance from the Rhein as Colmar, and having mixed up whether they were on the French or the German side, the three aircraft descended on Freiburg.

No air raid warning was given, since Freiburg’s Air Guard identified the incoming planes as German, and the bombing took the city completely by surprise. A total of 69 dropped bombs resulted in the death of 57 citizens.

The German military covered up the mistake, claiming that the bombing was an act by the enemy, and it wasn’t until 1980 that the truth was fully known.

Interested in learning more about Freiburg? Join us for a free walking tour of the city nearly every day at 11am! Check the Freiburg Free Walking Tour homepage to find out which days we are operating.