|The town of Bitche, which was formed of the villages of Rohr and Kaltenhausen in the 17th century, derives its name from the old stronghold (mentioned in 1172 as Bytis Castrum) standing on a rock some 80 m. above the town.|
The citadel, which had been constructed by Vauban on the site of the old castle after the capture of Bitche by the French in 1624, had been destroyed when it was restored to Lorraine in 1698. This was restored and strengthened in 1740 into a fortress that proved impregnable in all succeeding wars. The attack upon it by the Prussians in 1793 was repulsed; in 1815 they had to be content with blockading it; and in 1870, though it was closely invested by the Germans after the battle of Worth, it held out until the end of the war. A large part of the fortification is excavated in the red sandstone rock, and was rendered bomb-proof; a supply of water was secured to the garrison by a deep well in the interior.
The town is near the Maginot Line, into which the citadel was integrated.