Strasbourg, France

General Information

Regional secretariat

Administrative status

Seat of the Council of Europe and of the Assembly of European Communities; chief city of two districts.

Strasbourg - Grande île

Registration Year


Historical function

Trade and culture.

Location and site

In the heart of Europe, Strasbourg was a crossroads for the Rhine River and terrestrial trade routes. The old city is constructed between two arms of the Ill River.

Urban morphology

The old city of Strasbourg occupies an island, Grande-Île. Throughout its urban history, its two Roman axes have been maintained. The streets, which vary in width, are organized in a compact grid according to a plan which is almost rectilinear. Today, 20 bridges connect the old city of Strasbourg to the shores of the Ill River.

The old city centres around its Gothic cathedral of red sandstone. The older squares within this dense urban fabric are bordered with palaces, hotels, institutions and half-timber houses. Harbours extend along the two arms of the Ill River. Upstream from Grande-Île are a series of fortified bridges and their three towers.

Registration criteria

At all stages of its construction, the Gothic cathedral of Strasbourg is a unique artistic achievement. (I) The cathedral of Strasbourg served as a vehicle for the movement of Gothic art towards the east. (II) The “Grande-Île” of Strasbourg offers an eminent example of an urban ensemble that is characteristic of Central Europe and a unique ensemble of the residential architecture of the Rhine area in the 15th and 16th centuries. (IV)

Historical reference

  • Strasbourg was built on the site of the castrum Argentoratum, which was established in 12 B.C. and served as part of the Roman system of defense on the Rhine River.
  • In the 5th century, when Alsace was ruled by the Franks, the devastated site was known as Stratisburgum (meaning “roadside town”).
  • When the Bishops still had authority in the town, the Carolingians built the first church. Until 1000, the Roman fortifications enclosed the town, and a new fortification wall was constructed around 1100. In the 13th century, the rule of the Bishops was replaced by that of the bourgeois.
  • Strasbourg became a wealthy city due to its strategic position on the Rhine. Its growing autonomy allowed it to become a free city of the empire; it obtained the privilege of hosting a fair and became one of Europe’s warehouses on the Rhine.
  • From the 15th century on, the economic development of Strasbourg was accompanied by political and intellectual enlightenment.
  • In 1681, when Strasbourg was experiencing troubled times, Vauban constructed a fortress. In the 18th century, its population grew at an impressive pace.




Mme Jeanne Barseghian

Maire de Strasbourg
Ville et Communauté urbaine

1, parc de l'Etoile
Strasbourg, France

[email protected]

M. Yves Aubert

Directeur Général Adjoint
Communauté urbaine de Strasbourg

1, Parc de l'Étoile
Strasbourg, France

+33 3 88 60 93 95
[email protected]

M. Rémi Baudru

Chargé de projets patrimoine
Ville et Eurométropole de Strasbourg

[email protected]

Mme Marie-Séverine Pillon

Attachée de conservation - Chargée de mission Patrimoine
Ville et Eurométropole de Strasbourg

1 parc de l'Étoile
Strasbourg, France

[email protected]