Mont Sainte-Odile is a 760 m peak of the Vosges Mountains in Alsace in France. The mountain is named for Saint Odile. It has a monastery/convent at its top called the Hohenburg Abbey, and is notable also for its stone fortifications called “the Pagan Wall.” The convent is said to have been founded by Adalrich, Duke of Alsace, in honour of his daughter, Saint Odile, about the end of the 7th century, and it is certain that it existed at the time of Charlemagne. Destroyed during the Middle Ages, it was rebuilt by Premonstratensians at the beginning of the 17th century. It was acquired later by the bishop of Strasbourg, who restored the building and the adjoining church in 1853.
A famous manuscript, the Hortus Deliciarum, was compiled in the convent.The Pagan Wall is a huge construction about ten kilometres long which encircles Mont Sainte Odile. It is composed of about 300,000 blocks, between 1.6 and 1.8 metres wide and up to three metres high. The origins and date of the wall are still disputed, with some claiming that it is a 3,000 year old druid construction and more recent research suggesting that it dates from the 7th century AD, about the time that the convent was built. The designation “Pagan” is attributed to Pope Leo IX.Between August 2000 and May 2002 more than 1,000 ancient books went missing from the monastery library. A book collector stole the books after finding an old map showing a secret entrance into the library. The route was not easy, however, involving climbing up exterior walls, a steep staircase and a secret chamber. A mechanism then opened the back of one of five cupboards. The disappearance of so many books over such a length of time confused the librarian, the monks and the police, with Gosse finally being caught by closed-circuit television cameras.
At 7:20 pm on 20 January 1992, Air Inter Flight 148, an Airbus A320, crashed on a ridge near Mont Sainte-Odile. There were 87 casualties and 9 survivors.
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