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neuf brisach

Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, Model for the Fortress of Neuf-Brisach, c. 1703-1704, Musée des Plans-Reliefs, Direction de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine, Ministère de la Culture, Paris


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The most important developments in military architecture during the baroque period occurred along the northern and eastern frontiers of France, where the French army was involved in military campaigns against its neighbors, the Spanish-ruled southern Netherlands and the Rhineland. From the late 1660s King Louis XIV of France embarked on an ambitious project to build fortifications along these frontiers. The fortress town of Neuf-Brisach, one of these strongholds, was constructed between 1698 and 1720. Designed by Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, Louis XIV's chief military engineer, Neuf-Brisach was one of the most sophisticated defensive designs of the period. Vauban envisioned the fortress town as an "ideal city" that included a central square, a church, barracks, magazines, and officers' quarters, housing for various classes of citizens, and monumental walls and gates. The star-shaped fortifications that surround the town were intended to prevent the enemy's artillery from reaching the settlement. That Neuf-Brisach still survives today, largely untouched by later conflicts, is evidence of the efficacy of Vauban's defensive system.


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