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shell symbol Way of St. James in Alsace
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Die Thur bei Thann

The town of Thann is located in the foothills of the Vosges on the small river Thur.

After the bridge, we continue on the Rue des Pèlerins. This is where our Alsatian pilgrimage route meets the one from Freiburg in Breisgau.

The Witch's Tower (Tour des Sorcières) from the 15th century with its bulbous roof is the last remnant of the old fortifications of Thann. It houses a small museum room on the geology of Alsace.

On the way to the Minster

Square in front of the Minster

Square in front of the Minster

Thann has a long pilgrimage tradition. Even today, one street is called "Rue St-Jacques" and the hospital bears the name "Hôpital St-Jacques", in memory of the former pilgrims' hospice next to the Franciscan monastery.

Thann, minster
Thann Church, side view
Das Münster in Thann, Seitenansicht

Construction of the Thann Minster (Theobalduskirche) began in 1351. The building was completed at the end of the 15th century. It replaced a pilgrims' chapel from the XIIIth century.

Thann church, Apostel

The statue of St. James on the northern outer wall dates from the 19th century and stands on a 15th century pedestal.

According to legend, Bishop Ubald (in Alsace = Theobald) died in Gubbio (Umbria) in 1160. He had promised his servant his ring as a reward. When the servant wanted to take the ring off the dead man, he tore off his right thumb at the same time. The servant put the ring and thumb in his walking stick and set off with the relic to his homeland of Lorraine. In 1161 he arrived at the place where the cathedral stands today. He leaned his staff against a fir tree and fell asleep. When he awoke, he wanted to continue on his way, but his staff would not budge from the fir tree. At the same time, the Count of Pfirt, lord of Engelsburg Castle [of which the stone wheel, the so-called "witch's eye" still bears witness], noticed three lights above the trees. Theobald's servant told him that he was carrying a relic. The lord of the castle saw in the miracle the will of God. He promised to build a chapel for St. Theobald. At the same moment, the staff came loose from the tree.

Portal of the Minster

The west façade in particular deserves attention: above the portal are two small and one large tympanum in a rare arrangement. Over 500 statues depict the life of Mary.

Tympanon middle part
Tympanon left
Tympanon right

In the choir of the church there are still the original choir stalls from 1442 and statues of the apostles from 1420, including St. James. The stained glass windows also date from this time. In the northern aisle we find a James window with the donor family kneeling on either side of the apostle.

The bishop's ring and the thumb of Bishop Ubaldo of Gubbio (=Theobald) are kept in Thann Minster. The relic is still the destination of pilgrimages today.

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Gothic windows and apostles in the choir
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Holy Thoebald / Saint Thiebout
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Winemaker Madonna
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Le Moschenross

We spent the night in the hotel "Le Moschenross" on the busy N66. For dinner we once again had the Alsatian speciality: choucroute. Most of us shared the huge portions.