The citadel has protected this important route since the 17th century, with the fortifications improved by Vauban in the 17th century. A visit inside the fortress is a good way to understand the structure and the strength of the defences, which are extremely substantial, while it is in aerial photos that you can best see the characteristic pentagonal structure of the Vauban fortifications.
The citadel was then further reinforced in the early 19th century, with a ring of defences a couple of kilometres outside Belfort, parts of which can be seen for example at the Fort du Salbert.
The Porte de Brisach (1687-1703) is an entrance through the fortifications which grants access to the heart of Old Town; it was designed by Vauban in 1687.
The section above the door of the Porte de Brisach is embellished with a central medallion bearing three fleur-de-lis bordered by flags and trophies. The date 1687 is inscribed above it. The pediment is engraved with a sun, the symbol of Louis XIV, and his motto, "Nec pluribus impar" ("not unequal to many"). The Porte de Brisach and its surroundings were registered as Historic Monuments in 1907 and 1913.
The "Quand-Même" statue located right in front of St Christopher's Cathedral was sculpted by Antonin Mercié (1845-1916).
The artist portrayed an Alsatian woman in traditional clothing; one of her hands supports a fallen man while the other brandishes his rifle as she turns toward the authors of such misfortune.
The base of the sculpture features the medallions of Thiers, who did not want to give Belfort to Germany, and Colonel Denfert-Rochereau, who triumphantly defended it.
The Lion of Belfort is a sculpture by Frédéric Bartholdi, architect of the Statue of Liberty in New York, located in Belfort, France. It was finished in 1880 and is entirely made of pink sandstone. The blocs it is made of were individually sculpted then moved under Belfort castle to be assembled. The sculpture is 22 meters long and 11 meters high and dominates the local landscape.
The lion symbolizes the heroic resistance of Belfort during a 103 days long Prussian assault (from December 1870 to February 1871). The city was protected from 40,000 Prussians by merely 17,000 men (only 3,500 were from the military) lead by Colonel Denfert-Rochereau.
Instead of facing Prussia to the east as was intended, it was turned the other way because of German protests.
The Citadelle you see today was built on the location of the 13th-century castle from 1637 on. Ingeneer Vauban also took place in the construction, but today's appearance of the fortress comes from the 19th-century renovation works.
In the barracks you can visit the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire.
From the citadel, you can enjoy a beautiful panorama over the town (second photo).
The main attraction of Belfort is the Lion sculptured by Auguste Bartholdi, the author of the Statue of Liberty in New York. The sculpture has become increasingly famous, so that Belfort is now known as "La Cité du Lion".
The project was proposed in 1878 and the statue was inaugurated on 29 August 1880, but without an official ceremony due to political reasons. The lion is a symbol of Belfort's resistance to the Prussian attacks in 1870-71. It proved so succesful that the Parisians (who can never be second to anyone!) wanted a copy of it, erected in 1879 in a square that will later become Place Denfert-Rochereau.
The lion can be visited from 10 to 19 in summer and with shorter opening times in the rest of the year.
The cathedral was built as a church between 1727 and 1750 by the businessman Henri Schuller.
It was built of red sandstone excavated from the quarry at Offremont, three kilometres from Belfort.
Although the church opened for worship in 1750, the north tower was not completed until 1845.
It contains an organ by the organ-builder Joseph Valtrin, installed in 1752 and now classed as an historic monument in its own right.
From here its the street to castle of citadelle... And walking around in this street, we can enjoy many old houses and view.
I find this tank around the castle before enter to the castle... and my imagine play in my mind about this tank when world war.... peace...