Mont St. Odile, situated in the region of Alsace, France, is an enchanting blend of nature and history that beckons visitors throughout the year. This captivating place attracts many adventurers, enticed not only by its spiritual importance, Moreover, there are also compelling hiking trails just waiting to be discovered.
The most iconic feature there is the Pagan Wall, or “Mur Païen” in French. This ancient structure, of which the origins remain shrouded in mystery, stretches over 10 kilometers around the mountain.
Comprised of more than 300,000 stone blocks, ranging up to 1.8 meters in width and 3 meters in height, there is a prevailing belief among officials that this structure was constructed no earlier than the 7th and 9th centuries A.D.
Supporters of this view provide evidence in the form of wooden staples discovered and radiocarbon dated, which were once used to connect stones of the wall. However, I strongly believe that this interpretation is flawed, and the wood was likely attached at a later stage, possibly for the purpose of repairing specific sections of the construction.
Given the evidence of Celtic and Roman influence on this mountain, it is reasonable to assume that the structure is of much older origin.
The true purpose of this wall remains a subject of ongoing debate among historians and archaeologists. While some argue that it served as a defensive fortification, others contend that it was built to enclose an ancient sacred site. One argument against its defensive function is the absence of any water sources within its boundaries.
Located in a rocky grotto just beyond the enclosure lies the renowned St. Odilie fountain. It draws in numerous visitors daily who seek its reputed healing properties, particularly for ailments related to the eyes.
The Monastery of Saint Odilie, also referred to as Hohenbourg Abbey, was constructed during the 7th century on the rock plateau above the fountain. Thus, this site acquired major importance as a Christian pilgrimage destination in the Alsace region.
Upon closer inspection of the area beneath the monastery, specifically the rock plateau, one cannot help but notice the presence of colossal megalithic stone blocks seemingly integrated into its foundation.
Moreover, on the adjacent slopes one can come across strangely symmetrical stone giants that seem to have been thrown down from higher up.
Enthusiasts of theories surrounding ancient advanced civilizations and their demise due to cataclysmic events may ponder whether they are confronted with the remnants of such ancient structures here, potentially dating back tens of thousands of years.
What remains recognizable today has probably endured the impacts of weathering over the millennia and centuries of exploitation as construction material during the Middle Ages.
It may be possible that the Celts, assuming it was indeed them, stumbled upon a large expanse of ancient megalithic ruins on this mountain top 3000 years ago. With knowledge of the builders, their distant forefathers, they may have encircled it with a sacred wall.
Another remarkable feature on this mountain is the Stations of the Cross, which is made of ceramic tiles placed on the rugged foundation along the summit plateau.
As you venture further along the Pagan Wall, a multitude of marvels await. From grand and peculiar rock formations, to captivating scenic views of the Rhine plain, there is much to behold.
Below, you’ll find a few concluding photos. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post where we’ll delve into more discoveries.
The following video gives a small impression of the 10 km long Pagan Wall and the surroundings of the summit plateau, the location of Hohenbourg Abbey.
Mont Sainte-Odile is located in Alsace, France, close to the villages of Obernai and Barr. Situated on the eastern fringes of the Vosges Mountains, tit reaches an altitude of 763 meters.