Strasbourg - Grande Île (1988)

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Surrounded by two arms of the River Ill, the Grande Ile (Big Island) is the historic centre of the Alsatian capital. It has an outstanding complex of monuments within a fairly small area. The cathedral, the four ancient churches and the Palais Rohan – former residence of the prince-bishops – far from appearing as isolated monuments, form a district that is characteristic of a medieval town and illustrates Strasbourg's evolution from the 15th to the 18th century. 

Strasbourg (German Strassburg) is a city in eastern France, capital of Bas-Rhin Department, at the confluence of the Bruche and Ill rivers, near the Rhine River and Germany, in Alsace. Strasbourg is a commercial, manufacturing, transportation, and cultural center. Strasbourg is served by a major port on the Rhine River. 

The Ill River divides at Strasbourg and its arms and canals surround the oval-shaped central district which is the old section of the city. The famous Cathedral of Notre Dame of Strasbourg is situated in the southeastern part of the old quarter. 

Construction of the cathedral was begun about 1015, but only the crypt and part of the choir remain from this period. The Romanesque choir dates from the 11th and 12th centuries; the Gothic nave was reconstructed in 1275, and the western facade, begun in 1270, has a tall spire that was completed in 1439. Other features of the cathedral include stained-glass windows, an astronomic clock, and numerous sculptures. 

  • France 1939. The Cathedral of Strasbourg. 

France 1939. The Cathedral of Strasbourg

France 1971. Sculpture of St. Matthew in the Cathedral of Strasbourg France 1985. Stained glass window in the Cathedral of Strasbourg

Among additional points of interest in the city are the Gothic church of Saint Thomas (13th-14th century); the Palais de Rohan (1731-1741), now housing the municipal art museum; and the Hôtel du Commerce, the best example of Renaissance architecture in Strasbourg. The city is the seat of the universities of Strasbourg I, II, III (1538, reorganized 1970) and the Council of Europe. Strasbourg is a meeting place of the European Parliament, an organ of the European Union. 

France 1988. Strasbourg 2000 years anniversary.

Known as Argentoratum to the Romans, Strasbourg has been an episcopal see since the 4th century. The city was destroyed by the Huns in 455, but it was soon rebuilt by the Franks. In 923 Strasbourg became part of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1262, after a long struggle with the ruling bishops, the citizens gained the status of free imperial city for Strasbourg.

By the time of the Reformation, in the 16th century, Strasbourg was a prosperous community, and its inhabitants accepted Protestantism at an early date (1523). In 1681 Louis XIV of France took possession of the city, and the right of France to Strasbourg was recognized in 1697 by the Treaty of Ryswick. The city passed to Germany in 1871 as a result of the Franco-Prussian War but was returned to France in 1919, following World War I. It was occupied by the Germans and badly damaged in World War II (1939-1945). 
  • France 1988. Strasbourg 2000 years anniversary. Note the city seal with the Roman name "Argentoratum", and the present name "Strasbourg". 

Sources and links:

Other World Heritage Sites in France (on this site). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, section France for further information on the individual properties.  

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Revised 09 sep 2007  
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