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The earliest evidence of a settlement in Altdorf are several La Tène era bronze ax-heads and iron tools from the 3rd century BC. The people that settled in this region initially settled in the forest, and expanded toward the banks of the Reuss river. When the Reuss periodically flooded, the low lying settlements were destroyed and the inhabitants were driven back to the "old town", a possible source of the name Altdorf. Following the collapse of the Roman Empire the local Gallo-Roman population of Altdorf began to mix with the Germanic Alamanni during the 7th century. The earliest evidence of this is the grave (dated to 670–680) of an armed horseman located in the local St Martin's Church. The current town was first mentioned in 1223 as Alttorf. During the 16 to 19th centuries it was known simply as Uri. Altdorf is best known as the place where, according to the legend, William Tell shot the apple from his son's head. This act by tradition happened on the market-place, where in 1895, at the foot of an old tower (with rude frescoes commemorating the feat), there was set up a fine bronze statue (by Richard Kissling of Zurich) of Tell and his son. In 1899 a theatre was opened close to the town's center for the purpose of performing Schiller's play of Wilhelm Tell.
Identifier: 480, Last Accessed: 2017-07-25 11:11:29
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