Les Vosges 2017/1944 France
The Vosges, also called the Vosges Mountains, are a range of low mountains in eastern France, near its border with Germany. Together with the Palatine Forest to the north on the German side of the border, they form a single geomorphological unit and low mountain range of around in area. It runs in a north-northeast direction from the Burgundian Gate to the Börrstadt Basin, and forms the western boundary of the Upper Rhine Plain.
From 1871 to 1918 the Vosges marked for the most part the border between Germany and France, due to the Franco-Prussian War. The elongated massif is divided south to north into three sections: The Higher Vosges or High Vosges (Hautes Vosges), extending in the southern part of the range from Belfort to the river valley of the Bruche.
The highest mountains and peaks of the Vosges (with Alsatian or German names in brackets) are:
* Grand Ballon (Großer Belchen) 1,424 m (4,672 ft)
* Storkenkopf 1,366 m (4,482 ft)
* Hohneck 1,363 m (4,472 ft)
* Kastelberg 1,350 m (4,429 ft)
* Klintzkopf (Klinzkopf) 1,330 m (4,364 ft)
* Rothenbachkopf 1,316 m (4,318 ft)
* Lauchenkopf 1,314 m (4,311 ft)
* Batteriekopf 1,311 m (4,301 ft)
* Haut de Falimont 1,306 m (4,285 ft)
* Gazon du Faing 1,306 m (4,285 ft)
* Rainkopf 1,305 m (4,281 ft)
* Gazon du Faîte 1,303 m (4,275 ft)
* Ringbuhl (Ringbühl) 1,302 m (4,272 ft)
* Soultzereneck (Sulzereneck) 1,302 m (4,272 ft)
* Le Tanet (Tanneck) 1,292 m (4,239 ft)
* Petit Ballon (Kahler Wasen or Kleiner Belchen) 1,272 m (4,173 ft)
* Ballon d'Alsace (Elsässer Belchen) 1,247 m (4,091 ft)
* Brézouard 1,229 m (4,032 ft)
* Ballon de Servance (highest point in the département of Haute-Saône) 1,216 m (3,990 ft)
* Drumont 1,200 m (3,937 ft)
* Planche des Belles Filles 1,148 m (3,766 ft)
* Molkenrain 1,123 m (3,684 ft)
* Champ du Feu (Hochfeld or Firstfeld) 1,099 m (3,606 ft)
* Baerenkopf 1,074 m (3,524 ft)
* Rocher de Mutzig (Mutzigfelsen) 1,010 m (3,314 ft)
* Donon 1,009 m (3,310 ft)
* Taennchel (Tännchel) 992 m (3,255 ft)
* Climont 965 m (3,166 ft)
* Hartmannswillerkopf (Hartmannsweilerkopf) 956 m (3,136 ft)
* Chatte Pendue 902 m (2,959 ft)
* Ungersberg 901 m (2,956 ft)
* Tête du Coquin 837 m (2,746 ft)
* Mont Saint-Odile (Odilienberg) 760 m (2,493 ft)
* Dabo (Dagsburg) 647 m (2,123 ft)
* Grand Wintersberg (Großer Wintersberg) 581 m (1,906 ft)
* Hohenbourg (Hohenburg) 550 m (1,804 ft)
Two nature parks lie within the Vosges: the Ballons des Vosges Nature Park and the Northern Vosges Regional Nature Park. The Northern Vosges Nature Park and the Palatinate Forest Nature Park on the German side of the border form the cross-border Palatinate Forest-North Vosges Biosphere Reserve.
he massif known in Latin as Vosago mons or Vosego silva, sometimes Vogesus mons, was extended to the vast woods covering the region. Later, German speakers referred to the same region as Vogesen or Wasgenwald.
Over the centuries, settlement increased gradually, as was typical for a forested region. Forests were cleared for, inter alia, agriculture, livestock and early industrial factories (charcoal works and glassworks) and the water mills used water power. Concentrations of settlement and immigration took place and not only in areas where minerals were found. In the mining area of the Lièpvrette valley, for example, there was an influx of Saxon miners and mining specialists. From time to time, wars, plagues and religious conflicts saw the depopulation of territories – in their wake it was not uncommon for people to be relocated there from other areas.
On the lower heights and buttresses of the main chain on the Alsatian side are numerous castles, generally in ruins, testifying to the importance of this crucial crossroads of Europe, violently contested for centuries. At several points on the main ridge, especially at Sainte Odile above Ribeauvillé (German: Rappoltsweiler), are the remains of a wall of unmortared stone with tenons of wood, about 1.8 to 2.2 m (6 to 7 ft) thick and 1.3 to 1.7 m (4 to 6 ft) high, called the Mur Païen (Pagan Wall). It was used for defence in the Middle Ages and archaeologists are divided as to whether it was built by the Romans, or before their arrival.
During the French Revolutionary Wars, on 13 July 1794, the Vosges were the scene of the Battle of Trippstadt. From 1871 to 1918, they formed the main border line between France and the German Empire. The demarcation line stretched from the Ballon d'Alsace to Mont Donon with the lands east of it being incorporated into Germany as part of Alsace-Lorraine.
During the First World War, the Vosges were the scene of severe and almost continuous fighting. And during the Second World War, in autumn 1944, they were the site of brief but sharp fighting between Franco-American and German forces.
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