Freiburg's History for Pedestrians



Back to the

Freiburg-Madison  pages

































Eine ausführlichere

Darstellung der

 Freiburger Geschichte

 auf Deutsch finden Sie





Avant propos


The following web pages present Freiburg's history in a rather casual way. You will find dates and historical facts, but I shall place more emphasis on promoting interesting stories and pointing out traces from the city's past. Many of the remnants are still visible and tangible within Freiburg's boundaries, although quite a number were destroyed during the many sieges and wars the city suffered in the course of history. While touring Freiburg and its surroundings, you are invited to open your eyes and enjoy a living history book. The location of monuments and other points of interest is always given such that you will easily find the place.


Having worked for nearly 35 years in the international environment of the European Laboratory of High Energy Physics in Geneva, my English is essentially CERN-English. Although I published quite a lot in the language of Shakespeare, the following presentation may lack the easiness that a text on Freiburg's History deserves. Please feel not annoyed by my "Germanisms" but rather enjoy them. On the other hand, tell me about any blunders. All negative and positive criticism or suggestions for improvement of the following pages are welcome. For any contact, click on:


Manfred Höfert


You may have already heard that Duke Konrad of Zähringen founded Freiburg in 1120. This sounds as if Freiburg is relatively old but compared to other known places in Germany, it is a rather young city. The Romans founded the first city on German territory already in 16 b. C. called Augusta Treverorum (Trier) on the Mosel River. Cologne having been a castrum Romanum on the river Rhine for nearly a hundred years, received the status of an oppidum only! in 50 a. C.  The place was then named Colonia Agrippinensis after Emperor Nero's mother, Agrippina.


These early Roman cities are all located on the left bank of the Rhine, but you find remnants of late Roman culture South of Freiburg, like the villa in Heitersheim and the spa in Badenweiler (Aquae Villae). Both places are within easy reach by car.


A wide-spanned hall protects the Roman spa in Badenweiler.


The oldest written evidence of human activity in the region around Freiburg dates back to 1008. In a document, Emperor Henry II bestows the hunting rights in the neighboring woods upon the Bishop of Basel, drawing a borderline from the village of Uffhausen, passing through the Wiehre, the villages of Herdern, and Zähringen to Gundelfingen. Thus according to the books the Wiehre, Herdern and Zähringen - now suburbs of Freiburg - are much older than the city itself.


Read about the rather dramatic beginnings of the city on the next page.


This page was last updated on 22 June, 2022