St. Martin's Church (Eglise Saint-Martin)
The site of Kintzheim has been occupied since the Neolithic period. The first mention dates from the 8th century. At that time, the village was called Künigesheim, meaning "King's Domain". It was indeed the seat of a vast Merovingian royal domain.
In 774, Charlemagne removed large areas of forest in the Liepvrette Valley and donated them to Fulrad, Abbot of St. Denis. They were intended for the maintenance of his monastery. Later, the royal estate became part of the property of St Richarde, daughter of the Count of Lower Alsace Erchangar and founder of the Abbey of Andlau.
Dedicated to St. Martin, the church is located on a promontory in the centre of the village, which still shows traces of the old fortifications and on which a religious building once stood.
Already in the 18th century, this old church proved to be too small to accommodate the parishioners (dimensions: 13.70 x 10.70 m). It dates from the time when Kintzheim was still part of the town of Sélestat (1341-1793).
The present church was built between 1844 and 1846, revealing the faith and enthusiasm of the community through the scale of its construction. Its construction was part of a restructuring of the village centre (1844-1860), including the town hall, the school and the presbytery. The new church dedicated to Saint Martin was consecrated by André Raess, Bishop of Strasbourg, on 2 August 1846.
The paintings and statues were added as funds became available. In 1870, a storm and a lightning strike tore off half of the church's steeple roof. On 5 September 1917, the German administration removed two bells and 78 organ pipes to be melted down and used as war material. The bells were found near Frankfurt and returned in 1922.
The new organ, built in 1926 by J. Rinckenbach, was restored by Michel Gaillard (Aubertin) in 2011.
The style of the church bears witness to an era of harmony and space, with a pronounced taste for the late Baroque.
Above the entrance porch is a stone statue of St Martin, the patron saint of the parish.
The bell tower is 42 metres high and its gallery, at 30 metres, offers an admirable view of the village, the Vosges mountains and the Alsace plain. In 2000, a new cockerel was installed at the top of the bell tower.
The architect in charge of the plans, Antoine Ringeisen, was the author of other remarkable cultural achievements in Central Alsace.