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Belfort

France, Belfort
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"Belfort" () is a town and commune of north-eastern France, "préfecture" (capital) of the Territoire de Belfort "département" in the Franche-Comté "région". Population (1999): 50,417. Approximately 60,000 including suburbs.

It is located on the Savoureuse, on the strategically important natural route between the Rhine and the Rhône - the Belfort Gap (Trouée de Belfort) or Burgundian Gate (Porte de Bourgogne).

History
Belfort"s strategic location, in a natural gap between the Vosges and the Jura, on a route linking the Rhine and the Rhône, has attracted human settlement and made it a target for armies.

The site of Belfort was inhabited in Gallo-Roman times and was subsequently recorded in the 13th century as a possession of the counts of Montbéliard, who granted it a charter in 1307.

Previously an Austrian possession, Belfort was transferred to France by the Treaty of Westphalia (1648), that ended the Thirty Years" War. The town"s fortifications were extended and developed by the military architect Vauban for Louis XIV.

Until 1871, Belfort was part of the "département" of Haut-Rhin, in Alsace. The Siege of Belfort, between 3 November 1870 and 18 February 1871, was successfully resisted until the garrison was ordered to surrender 21 days after the armistice between France and Prussia. Because this part of Alsace was French speaking, while the rest of Alsace was German speaking, the area around Belfort was not annexed by the Prussians. It formed, as it still does, the Territoire de Belfort. The siege is commemorated by a huge statue, the Lion of Belfort, by Frédéric Bartholdi.

Alsatians who sought a new French home in Belfort made a significant contribution to its industry.

The town was bombarded by the Germans in World War I and occupied by them in World War II. In November 1944 the retreating German army held the French First Army before the town until French Commandos made a successful night attack on the Salbert Fort. Belfort was liberated on 22 November.

Industry
Belfort is a trading centre for wine and grain and its industries include chemicals, engineering, plastics and textiles. Belfort is also the hometown of Alstom where the first TGVs (Trains Grande Vitesse) were produced. As well as of the GE Energy European headquarter and centre of excellence for the manufacturing of gas turbines.



Sights
Lion of Belfort
* Belfort is the home of the "Lion of Belfort", a sculpture by Frédéric Bartholdi expressing people"s resistance against the siege in the Franco-Prussian War (1870) — who shortly afterwards built the Statue of Liberty in New York.
* The Belfort Cathedral, 18th century
* There are also plenty of other things to see in a city that is trying and showing better its heritage, mainly the citadel, the old town and its museographic riches:
** In 2007, the Belfort city museums are to be completely restructured within three main poles: history (from archeology to military) in the old barracks on the top of the citadel, arts (mainly from 16th to 19th century) in the Tour 41 and modern arts in the Donation Jardot.
** Since July of the same year, a new touristic sight of the citadel has been opened to the public - with a sound-, video- and light-animated trail in the moats and the big underpass of the citadel. Its name: "La Citadelle de la Liberté" (Citadel of Liberty)

FIMU
Belfort is also well known for organizing a large-scale music festival in May each year. The "Festival International de Musique Universitaire" (FIMU) is home to nearly 2500 musicians, most of them students, from many different countries. The musicians give more than 250 concerts in the course of the 3-day festival in a wide variety of styles (classical, jazz, traditional, experimental, etc.). All of the concerts are free of charge and are performed at 14 different locations in the old city (the "vieille ville") of Belfort. In 2004 more than 60,000 people attended the festival. In 2005 the festival was held on 14–16 May.

Culture
Events
* The Belfort Tattoo Convention which remains after 14 years of existence is the oldest convention of France.

Miscellaneous
Births
Belfort was the birthplace of:
* François Joseph Heim (1787-1865), painter
* Jules Brunet (1838-1911), a member of the first French Military Mission to Japan in order to help modernize the armies of the shogunate
* Louis-Gabriel-Charles Vicaire (1848-1900), poet
* Raymond Forni (1941-2008), politician
* Jean-Pierre Chevènement (born 1939), politician
* Gérard Grisey (born 1946-1998), composer
* Alexander Toponce (1839-1923), American pioneer

DEATHS
* Leon Delarbre

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities
Belfort is twinned with:
* "Delémont", Switzerland
* "Leonberg", Baden-Württemberg, Germany
* "Lobenstein", Thuringia, Germany
* "New Belgrade", Serbia
* "Skikda", Algeria
* "Stafford", United Kingdom
* "Zaporizhzhia", Ukraine

See also
* Communes of the Territoire de Belfort department

Notes and references


External links

* (in French)
*
*
*
*
*
*
* Léon Delarbre



Category:Communes of Territoire de Belfort
Category:Prefectures in France

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Dieser Artikel stammt aus der freien Enzyklopädie Wikipedia und kann dort bearbeitet werden. Der Text ist unter der Lizenz Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike verfügbar. Fassung vom 17.11.2017 20:32 von den Wikipedia-Autoren.
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