History and description

Created in the 9th century, Huningue belonged to the Habsburgs of Austria since the 15th century. Ceded to France in 1648 by the treaty of Westfalia, Vauban had his first fortifications constructed in 1679 in order to control the mouth of the Rhine and to reinforce the strategic position of the town in relation to Basle. The engineer Tarade supervised the work. The construction was completed in 1680. A new town, in a pentagonal shape and along an orthogonal outline replaced the pre-existing medieval village. The urban wall included five arrow-headed bastions, tenailles, five ravelins (four with passages and inner fortified structure), a counterguard in front of the west bastion, two hornworks in front of the north-west and south-west bastions and a redoubt to the south. A channel surrounded the base of the glacis and the moats were filled.
To control the passage on the Rhine, a bridgehead was constructed on the right bank of the river. This bridgehead consisted of a central hornwork, flanked to the north and south by two bastions. All the installations were protected by moats flooded via the river and a covered way. An entrenchment in the form of a hornwork was also constructed on the îsle of Cordonniers, in the middle of the river, behind this bridgehead. It allowed sold points of support from which to construct a provisional bridge in the event of war.
In 1688, a fixed bridge was constructed as part of this defensive arrangement. It was later demolished in 1697, when the treaty of Rijswick was applied, and the bridgehead of the right bank of the Rhine met the same fate. However, new replacements were constructed on this side, during the Revolution by generals Bosière and d’Arçon around 1790-1793.

Current state

All that is left are rare fragments of Huningue. The fixed bridge of 1688 was demolished in 1697, when the treaty of Rijswick was applied.


47° 35' 31" N, 7° 35' 4" E

new town
Sébastien le Prestre de Vauban, Jacques Tarade
Grand Est
  • GRESSET (M.), Vauban et la Franche-Comté, Saint-Léger-Vauban, 1996.
  • MARTIN (P.), La route des fortifications dans l’Est, Paris, 2007.
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