Ribeauvillé and its castle
|Intercommunality||Ribeauvillé et environs|
|• Mayor (2001–2008)||Jean-Louis Christ|
|Area1||32.21 km2 (12.44 sq mi)|
|• Density||160/km2 (410/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||68269 / 68150|
|Elevation||188–989 m (617–3,245 ft)
(avg. 240 m or 790 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
Its inhabitants are called Ribeauvillois.
Known in the 8th century as Rathaldovilare, the town passed from the Bishops of Basel to the Lords of Rappoltstein, who were among the most famous nobles in Alsace. The Lord of Rappoltstein was the King or Protector of the wandering minstrels of the land, who purchased his protection by paying him a tax.
When the family became extinct in 1673, this office of "King of the Pipers" (Pfeiferkönig) passed to the Counts Palatine of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld. The minstrels had a pilgrimage chapel near Rappoltsweiler, dedicated to their patron saint, Maria von Dusenbach, and here they held an annual feast on 8 September. Ribeauvillé was commonly known as Rappoltsweiler until the 19th century.
Ribeauvillé is in part surrounded by ancient walls, and has many picturesque medieval houses, and two old churches, of St Gregory and St Augustine, both fine Gothic buildings. The town hall contains a valuable collection of antiquities. The Carolabad, a saline spring with a temperature of 64 F. (which held a great reputation in the Middle Ages), was re-discovered in 1888, and made Rappoltsweiler a watering-place.
The economy of Ribeauvillé is mainly based on:
- Tourism, because of its historical heritage and several festivals as, for example Fête du Kougelhopf (June), Fête du Vin (July), Fête des Ménétriers (September) and Marché de Noël (Christmas);
- Viticulture: Ribeauvillé is located in the middle of the Alsace wineyards and is home to many viticulturists. Most of them are associated in a winemaking co-operative named Cave de Ribeauvillé (established 1895), one of the oldest in France;
- Manufacturing: There is a Sony factory located nearby.
- Philipp Jakob Spener (1635–1705), Lutheran theologian
- Johann Baptist Wendling (1723–1797), flautist and composer
- Jean-Michel Beysser (1753–1794), French general
- Carl August von Steinheil (1801–1870), physicist
- Maurice Lévy (1838–1910), engineer
- Jean-François Klobb (1857–1899), French officer
- Hubert Keller, chef
- Cooperative website alsace.vins-ribeauville.com
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