Colmar: Churches & Gargoyles

During our vacation/family visit in Germany, we did a day-trip to Colmar, a charming little town in France, which lies just across the border to the west of Baden-Württemberg.

As is often the case with such old villages, the density of churches is surprisingly high – one of them wasn’t actually a church anymore, but is an art museum nowadays. Walking around these huge historic buildings I became quite fascinated with all the details and decorative elements on their exterior. And then I discovered the sometimes funny and cute, sometimes odd and outright weird gargoyles.

Some are not just odd as it turns out, but deliberately insulting: why is that guy licking the leg of a goat?! I’ve learned that it is a so-called “Judensau” (Jewish pig) gargoyle — meant to defame and denounce Jews and Judaism. It’s estimated to be from around the year 1350 and supposedly, it depicts a Jewish person licking on an animal that is considered not kosher. That’s how one religious group considered and treated the other… :-(


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