“Germany has solemnly recognised and guaranteed France her frontiers as determined after the Saar plebiscite ... We thereby finally renounced all claims to Alsace-Lorraine, a land for which we have fought two great wars.: - Adolf Hitler
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Colmar (German between 1871–1918 and 1940–1945: Kolmar) is the third-largest commune of the Alsace region in north-eastern France. It is the seat of the prefecture of the Haut-Rhin department and the arrondissement of Colmar-Ribeauvillé. The town is situated on the Alsatian Wine Route and considers itself to be the “capital of Alsatian wine” (capitale des vins d’Alsace).
The city is renowned for its well -preserved old town, its numerous architectural landmarks and its museums, among which is the Unterlinden Museum with the Isenheim Altarpiece. Colmar’s secular and religious architectural landmarks reflect eight centuries of Germanic and French architecture and the adaptation of their respective stylistic language to the local customs and building materials (pink and yellow Vosges sandstone, timber framing).
Colmar is an affluent city whose primary economic strength lies in the flourishing tourist industry. Every year since 1947, Colmar is host to what is now considered as the biggest annual commercial event as well as the largest festival in Alsace, the Foire aux vins d’Alsace (Alsatian wine fair). Since 1980, Colmar is home to an international summer festival of classical music Festival de Colmar (also known as Festival international de musique classique de Colmar). In its first version (1980 to 1989), it was placed under the artistic direction of the German conductor Karl Münchinger. Since 1989, it is helmed by the Russian violinist and conductor Vladimir Spivakov.