My hometown history

May 24, 2011

Scott Thomas Photography’s challenge for this month is about “Your hometown history”.

My  hometown is in another state but surely a “hometown” is also the place one feels good in : my close family lives here as well as some very dear friends. I  have  enjoyed practising many activities over the years since my family and I decided to settle down in this town.  I love the area we live in now almost as much as the one I was born in.  My hometown then would be Fribourg in the French speaking part of Switzerland. Halfway between Berne, our capital and the picturesque area near the Lake of Geneva, not far from my “real” hometown in the Alps.

As for history… this subject has been very much part of my life thanks to my paternal grandfather, Ulysse, who was a self-taught historian.  A long while ago, I wrote a post about him :

This is the old part of Fribourg  on a rather grey day. The medieval town was  was built in 1157 along a river. The Sarine  river  borders two areas in my country: the French and the German  parts.  Fribourg (town/canton) is one of the 26 cantons/states of the Swiss Confederation. Almost one third of his 30000 inhabitants are students.  Several academies, high schools and a bilingual university attract many young people from here and abroad.

Various bridges cross the river meandering around the old town.

Apart from a winding road,  there is a funicular (1899) that connects the ancient town to the newer part above the hill. No motor but recycled water that acts as counterweight.

This medieval town used to be surrounded by ramparts. Most of those walls were destructed over the centuries. A few of them remain and have been restored as well as one heavy wooden gate that would close the town at night.

A colourful old house that used to be a military arsenal.  Nowadays people seem to be more peaceful in town and the arsenal became “Arsen’Alt”. The large painted house is meant to bring people together in the Alt district. It promotes local community life for all those wishing so: kindergarten, various courses, craftwork, cultural activities, meetings, movies,  birthday parties, etc… An inter-generation leisure complex.

By chance I happened to be in the old town when a photography exhibition took place on a square. It was all about the people who lived and are living now in this part of our town. Maybe one of these two ladies recognized herself or someone she knew on a picture ? 🙂

Pictures from today and yesterday; remembering history in a district that used to be a deprived area inhabited by large families coming from the country  in search of a job in town.  Years later many of those same families left their old houses that had become run-down for apartment houses in the upper part of  the town. Ancient houses have been restored and are now sought-after… Times are changing.

Just an old pub about one of my idols 😉  “Elvis et moi”. The owner must have the complete collection of The King’s LP’s ! A real fan and a charming lady. Pity the pub was closed as I took this picture.

A window from another time… Pretty old dolls, second hand books, ancient CD’s and other fancy dusty objects.

Many museums are worth visiting in Fribourg. A favourite of mine is the Gutenberg Museum. A whole post would be necessary to show you its wonders. I will write more about it some time. For now let’s meet the writer and the bookbinder…

… as well as two Turkish musicians who were practising folk music in a garden outside the museum: “Our landlady does not allow us to play in the apartment !”.  They were preparing for  a traditional celebration with members of their community,  an important one in our city.

Are you tired after the visit  ? Then why not take a break on the lawn or on this stone (molasse) bridge. From there you will be able to have another look at the old city, like in the first picture. Fribourg or Freiburg in German is a town of bridges over the river. Bridges over cultures,  languages and times.  Bridges that join rather than divide. It is a small town you may well enjoy visiting if you are around someday.

Thanks Scott for allowing me to use pictures of various “times”. I loved this theme too.

21 Responses to “My hometown history”

  1. Cindy said

    I have been there! Thanks so much for sharing, it was like visiting all over again. (And it is the place where I ate my first raclette, in a restaurant inside a castle!)

  2. Very evocative photos; reminded me of our years living in France in the Seine et Marne region with all the little villages that dot the countryside, all medieval and with several stone bridges, so charming!

  3. montucky said

    What a fascinating history, Isa! I enjoyed it so much! Thank you for all of the time and effort that went into this!

  4. Tracy said

    Thanks! After reading of everyones hometown, I feel like I’ve been on a grand vacation without having to come home, unpack and do laundry!! Great photos!

  5. Denise said

    Look like a very interesting town, I must see more of Europe! Thanks for the little tour!

  6. Nye said

    Isa, it’s such a charming town, love the third image of how you captured the old and new part of town. This is the closest I’ll ever get to visit and thank you. 🙂

  7. truels said

    Isa, you are living in a beautiful town – full of history from many years back in the past – and full of life and new stories!! Your photos and story gives me great desire to visit Fribourg once…

    • You would be most welcome, truels ! Old and newer parts of Fribourg are interesting and pleasant to visit. I should take more pictures of the upper part. My camera just let me down though… and this will have to wait for a while. Thank you for your words.

  8. Karma said

    How wonderful that your town has history from medieval times. When we think of “history” here in the States, we often think of our country’s own history – only 235 years old. “Old” houses for us are from the 1700’s. This was a beautiful glimpse at a beautiful place.

  9. […] Isa contacted me about an issue with her camera and I told her to go ahead and use archived photos for her assignment.  I am glad I did as she shows us a hometown reaching back centuries and its continuing evolution to meet the needs of its residents of …. […]

  10. Janice said

    It’s a beautiful town, Isa. I’m not surprised you feel happy to have settled there. Your post paints a picture of a real, thriving community, with something for everyone and all ages.

    • So true, Janice ! Fribourg is an ancient town with a thriving community from all horizons and a continuing evolution to meet the needs of its inhabitants, as Scott wrote. Thanks a lot for your warm comments.

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