Strasbourg (German Strassburg, "castle of roads", Alsatian Strossburi) is the capital and principal city of the Alsace région of northeastern France. It is the préfecture (capital) of the Bas-Rhin département.
Population: 250,000. Population of the metropolitan area (in French: aire urbaine) at the 1999 census was 612,104. Including the part of the metropolitan area which is on German territory, population was estimated in 1999 at around 650,000.
Strasbourg is an important centre of manufacturing and engineering, as well as of road, rail and river communications. It is the seat of the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights and it hosts the new seat of the European Parliament after the asbestos scandal in the 1980s.
The city is known for its sandstone gothic cathedral, and for its medieval cityscape of Rhineland black and white timber-framed buildings, particularly in the Petite-France district alongside the river Ill, which has been declared a World Heritage site by the UNESCO.
At the site of Strasbourg, the Romans established a military outpost and named it Argentoratum. It belonged to the Germania Superior Roman province. From the 4th century, Strasbourg was the seat of a bishopric.
The Alamanni fought a battle against Rome in Strasbourg in 357. They were defeated by Julian, later Emperor of Rome, and their king Chonodomarius was taken prisoner. On January 2, 366 the Alamanni crossed the frozen Rhine in large numbers, to invade the Roman Empire. Early in the 5th century the Alamanni appear to have crossed the Rhine, conquered and then settled what is today Alsace and a large part of Switzerland.
A major commercial centre in the later Middle Ages, it became in 1262 an Imperial Free City of the Holy Roman Empire, with a broad-based city government from 1332. The minster of Strasbourg was completed in 1439, and became the World's Tallest Building, surpassing the Great Pyramid of Giza. During the 1520s the city embraced the religious teachings of Martin Luther, whose adherents established a university in the following century.
Annexing Strasbourg in September 1681, France was confirmed in possession of the city by the Treaty of Ryswick (1697). The official policy of religious intolerance which drove many Protestants from France after the Edict of Fontainebleau (1685) was not applied in Strasbourg, as the Edict of Nantes (1598) had still been in effect in France at the time of the city's annexation. With the growth of industry and commerce, the city's population tripled in the 19th century to 150,000.
Annexed to the newly-established German Empire, as part of Alsace-Lorraine, in 1871 following the Franco-Prussian War (Treaty of Frankfurt), the city was restored to France after World War I, in 1919 by the Treaty of Versailles. It was again part of Germany during World War II, from 1940 to 1945.
There are three universities in Strasbourg:
- Strasbourg I - Université Louis Pasteur
- Strasbourg II - Université Marc Bloch
- Strasbourg III - Université Robert Schuman
A campus of the École nationale d'administration (ENA) is located in Strasbourg, the other one being in Paris. The building of a new one to reunite both in Strasbourg and to give the ENA a European vocation has started.
The permanent campus of the International Space University (ISU) is located in the south of Strasbourg.
Two TGV lines are planned to link Strasbourg to the European high-speed train network:
France and Germany are negotiating the creation of a Eurodistrict straddling the Rhine river combining the Greater Strasbourg and the Ortenau district of Baden-Württemberg, with some common administration. The overall population of this "European Washington DC" would be 860,000.
- Boston, Massachusetts, USA, since 1960
- Leicester, United Kingdom, since 1960
- Stuttgart, Germany, since 1962
- Dresden, Germany, since 1990
- Ramat Gan, Israel, since 1991
- Jacmel, Haïti, since 1996
- Novgorod, Russia, since 1997
- Fes, Morocco
- Observatory of Strasbourg
- Musée d'art moderne et contemporain of Strasbourg - Modern and contemporary art museum
- Strasbourg Convention (Patent law)