Strasbourg - at the heart of Europe
The attack on the Alsatian capital's Christmas market causes worldwide concern. The "Christkindelsmärik" has existed since 1570 and is the oldest Christmas market in France. Strasbourg is worth seeing anyway.
Capital of Alsace
From the cathedral to the tanners' quarter all the way to the modern architecture of important European institutions: The French regional capital of Alsace boasts many attractions, here are our favorites.
The cathedral is the symbol of the city and reflects its Franco-German history. Constructed by German cathedral master builders such as Erich von Steinbach and Ulrich Ensinger between the 12th and 15th centuries, the Romanesque-Gothic church was regarded as mankind's tallest building until 1847.
One of the best-known buildings in Strasbourg is Kammerzell House on the Muensterplatz cathedral square. It dates from the 15th century and is considered an outstanding example of profane late Gothic architecture. With its characteristic wood-carved façade, the building now serves as a hotel and restaurant.
La Petit France
Many half-timbered houses and lots tourists can be found in the La Petite France district – the so-called tanners' quarter. Because of its important historical buildings, the medieval old town as well as the new town, dating from the 19th century, are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The ensemble of towers and bridges over the Ill River dates from the early 13th century. Although the wooden roofs over the bridges, which were supposed to protect the city's defenders in wartime, have long since disappeared, the name Ponts Couverts has remained.
Until the end of the Thirty Years War, Strasbourg was a free imperial city within the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. A square and a statue are dedicated to an early famous guest to the city. Johann Gutenberg, the inventor of modern letterpress printing, lived here from 1434 to 1444.
The former town residence of the prince-bishops is considered a baroque masterpiece. Since the end of the 19th century, Palais Rohan has housed the Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Decorative Arts and the Archaeological Museum. One of the archaeological treasures is the sandstone bust of the Roman Emperor Caracalla found in Strasbourg in 1950.
Tomi Ungerer Museum
In 2007 the city of Strasbourg dedicated a building to one of its most famous contemporary sons: The documentation center Tomi Ungerer. As a graphic artist and writer, he sees himself above all as a committed Alsatian and European. Ungerer, who commutes between Ireland and Strasbourg, has left a large part of his works to his hometown.
Strasbourg Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
Completed in 1998, the museum houses masterpieces of European modernism from Max Ernst to Auguste Rodin. The contemporary art collection also includes an exhibit of new German painters from Georg Baselitz to Jonathan Meese. The photographic department also offers an extensive collection from the beginnings to the present.
The European Union's Parliament building, which has been convening here since 1999, makes Strasbourg a European capital. Right next door are the European Court of Human Rights and the Council of Europe. All of these can also be seen quite comfortably from a boat. The Ille River links the historic city center with the European institutions district.
Passerelle des Deux Rives
Representative for the many connections between Germany and France is the Passerelle des Deux Rives - the bridge of the two banks – on which pedestrians and cyclists can cross the border. The bridge over the Rhine, which opened in 2004, is part of a cross-border park that connects the French city of Strasbourg with the German city of Kehl.