June 30, 2013

0711 FRANCE (Grand Est) - Strasbourg - Grande île (UNESCO WHS)


Located on the Ill River, close to the border with Germany, actually historically German-speaking, as the entire Alsace, Strasbourg was built on the site of an ancient Celtic settlement (Argentorate), where Romans established a military outpost (Argentoratum). The town was occupied successively by Alemanni, Huns and Franks, and in the 9th century it was already known as Strazburg (the town at the crossing of roads). As major commercial centre, it came under control of the Holy Roman Empire in 923, in 1262 became an Imperial Free City, in 1681 was annexed by France, in 1871 by the German Empire, and after WWI reverted back of France.

Strasbourg's historic city centre, the Grande Île (Grand Island), surrounded by two arms of the River Ill, was designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1988, the first time such an honour was placed on an entire city centre. The cathedral, the four ancient churches and the Palais Rohan - former residence of the prince-bishops - form a district that is characteristic of a medieval town and illustrates town's evolution between 15th and 18th centuries, being simultaneously the eastward vector of the Gothic art movement.

The city has many bridges, including the medieval, four-towered Ponts Couverts (Covered Bridges), which have kept their name despite the fact that they lost their roofs back on the 18th century (up on the postcard). It is placed in Petite-France, which in the Middle Ages was the tanning-houses and slaughterhouses area. The name (Little France) wasn't given for patriotic reasons, but comes from the Hospice of the Syphilitic, built in the late 15th century to cure persons with syphilis, then called the "French disease". Built in 1572, the Maison des Tanneurs (in the left of the postcard) is an old tannery converted into restaurant in 1949 and renovated in 1972 on the occasion of the fourth centenary.

About the stamp, the blue Marianne et l'Europe, I wrote here.

References
Strasbourg - Wikipedia
Strasbourg - Grande île - UNESCO official website
Maison des Tanneurs - official website


sender: Ana
sent from Strasbourg  (Alsace / France), on 09.08.2012

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