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The Collegiate Church Saint Thiébaut

Together with Strasbourg Cathedral, the Collegiate Church, is one of the most typical Gothic buildings representing architecture from the Rhine area. It owes its name to the Canonical College of Saint-Amarin founded in 1442. It took more than two centuries to build from the end of the 13th to the 15th century. Remy Faesch, the last architect in charge of the Collegial, realized the North aisle between 1430 and 1492 and the octagonal part and the spire (78 m – 255 feet) which were completed in 1516.

The main façade is decorated by a remarkable and historical doorway (1342-1498) with three tympanums which are unique in France. On the main tympanum, 150 scenes embellished with 500 figures depict the life of the Virgin Mary, on the right-hand side, the small tympanum shows the Nativity and the three Wise Men while that on the left illustrates the Crucifixion. Gargoyles, chimeras and glazed tiles also add to the stateliness of the building.

Inside, three gothic styles are represented: Lancet, Equilateral and Flamboyant. Carved in oak and walnut, the choir stalls which constitute the most important structure of this type in Alsace, date back to the 15th and 16th centuries. Many coats of arms, mainly situated in the pointed arches, show the alliances of the House of Habsburg in the 15th century and the unions of Thann's Lords

The stained-glass windows (15th century) are spread over 8 windows 15m high and flood the chancel with light and colour. Like the tympanums, the stained-glass windows should be read from the bottom up and from left to right.

A legend and a famous place of pilgrimage

Every year, on June 30th, Thann commemorates the legend of its creation with the « «Burning of Three Fir Trees »: in 1611, during a rest in the forest, the servant of Bishop Saint Thiébaut from Gubbio, who was hiding a relic of his master in the knob of his staff, discovered that he couldn't lift it from the ground.

At the same time, three bright lights shone from the top of three fir trees. The Count of Pfirt, then Lord of Thann, decided to build a chapel to mark the spot which became a famous place of pilgrimage. The modest village of Thann became a town in 1290.

As the pilgrims arrived in greater numbers, it was felt that a much larger sanctuary was needed and thus began the construction of the Collegiate Church.
Watch the video tracing the construction of the Cathedral 

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The stained-glass windows of the Collegiate Church Saint-Thiébaut.

The chancel of the Collegiate Church Saint-Thiébaut exhibits Alsace's most complete collection of stained-glass windows from the 15th century. From the point of view of the iconography and style, and in spite of the restorations that have been made, these windows remain of great interest.

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