View from Schloßberg to Schwabentor
The Schwabentor (English “Swabian Gate“) is one of Freiburg’s two remaining city gates – here seen from the Schlossberg hill. We cannot take the gate for granted, as it nearly fell victim to traffic planning at the end of the 19th century when the first tramway tracks were built. However, Otto Winterer – Freiburg’s mayor at the time – advocated for the preservation of the Schwabentor.
Part of the medieval town fortifications, the gate was built around 1250. At the end of the 19th century the architect Carl Schäfer increased the height of the gate from 26 to 65 metres, as the nearby commercial buildings had risen considerably during the 19th century, now surmounting the city gate – not a perfect situation. Schäfer added a stepped gable typical of the towers in northern German towns and cities. However, looking out for the gable would be a waste of time. Many citizens of Freiburg disliked the breach of architectural style and demanded that the gable be demolished. This is exactly what happened in the mid-1950ies: the top part of the gate was removed stone by stone and replaced by a simple pavilion roof, which resembles the roof of the original gate. If you are a fan of pewter figures, why not visit the Zinnfigurenklause, a small museum inside the Schwabentor.
Text: Jan Schwab