The district of Umkirch lies to the west of Freiburg and the east of Tuniberg and Kaiserstuhl. We would like to invite you on a short tour of 10 selected spots in our little district. There is no specific order – you can start the tour from anywhere. Let us start with a brief historical introduction, after which we hope you enjoy exploring, either on foot or by bike.
Umkirch was first mentioned officially in 1087 as ‘untkilicha’, which roughly translates as ‘the church between the waves’.
Excavations have revealed remains of a Roman settlement dating back to the 1st century AD in a sub-district of Umkirch. The little village in the swampy forest was built up on a Roman supply road for important fortifications in Riegel, Biesheim and Strasbourg. This settlement later fell into decline.
The ‘Mariä Himmelfahrt’ church was built on the remains of a Roman building in the 11th century, making it one of the oldest churches in the Breisgau region.
By the 8th century AD at the latest, the Meierhof in Umkirch belonged to the French king, followed by the Bishops of Basel from around 1000 AD. Since then, it has swapped between the hands of various rulers. What was once the moated castle of ‘Büningen’ and is now the town hall dates back to the 13th century and was later joined by the estate farm, the revenue office and the palace mill. The manor house, which was restored in 2005, the revenue office, the complex of the former ‘zum goldenen Adler’ guest house next door and the town hall in Büningen Castle now form the centre of the village.
The palace belonging to the House of Hohenzollern, complete with its own country house, can be found within a charming landscaped garden on the route towards Waltershofen. Unfortunately, neither of the two is open to the public.
For centuries, it was lived in by ‘Hintersassen’ or ‘Kleinhäusler’ (peasant proprietors or copyholders), day labourers, knaves, maids and chambermaids who owned no land of their own. The lime kiln can be dated back to the 17th century, and is clear evidence that there was very little actual craft going on here.
In around 1840, Freiburg-based silk company Mez opened a branch in the ‘blaues Haus’. This would later become a cigar factory for the short period during which tobacco farming proved lucrative for the small farmers of the Umkirch region. Today, the fields all around are cultivated by two relatively large conventional farms and an organic farm based in the Dachswanger Mill, which was once a moated castle.
Umkirch’s time came after the Second World War, when, in 1954, displaced settlers built the ‘forest settlement’ with their own hands. Today, the skyline to the east is dominated by the tower blocks built in the 70s. The increased numbers of inhabitants these brought in allowed Umkirch to become an autonomous district as of 1976. The population increased from 704 in 1939 and 1,780 in 1970 to its current level of nearly 6,000.
Since 1959 and especially so in recent years, a large, diverse commercial district has become established in the west of the town. There are now more than 80 businesses. It is an attractive location thanks to its good connections to the motorway and the new B 31 West.
Length: about 2.2 km
Time: about 1 hour