The Lost Fort

My Travel and History Blog, Focussing mostly on Roman and Mediaeval Times


21 May 2018
  Pretty Houses and a Famous Minster – A Virtual Tour through Strasbourg

Strasbourg is a pretty town and even prettier in sunshine. But since I visited the place on a sunny Sunday in late April, there were more tourists than in Bruges. It was almost impossible to get photos without people standing in front of the vistas.

The Minster in Strasbourg, westwork

Strasbourg is best known for the famous Minster (Cathedral of Our Lady). Its construction began in the 12th century, but it would take until 1439 to finish the building - and only the north tower was erected to its intended hight of 142 metres. At that time, the Minster of Strasbourg was the tallest building in the known world, surpassing the pyramids of Gizeh.

The Minster, interior

You see what I said about people? On Sundays, the times when tourists can visit the interior are limited due to the religious activities going on in the church, and then they stream in all at once. I had planned to arrive at Saturday early afternoon to avoid this problem, but a strike in France obliged me to spend five hours on trains instead of the two hours I had planned, therefore I arrived in the evening.

The Minster, exterior

Although the construction began at a time when the Romanesque style was still prevalent, the Minster today looks like a purely Gothic building, and a splendind one at that. Particulary the westwork of red sandstone (see above) with its statues and ornaments is stunning.

Palais Rohan, the river side

The Palais Rohan directly behind the minster was commissioned by a cardinal, member of the House Rohan . It was finished in 1742, a fine example of Baroque architecture. Today it houses several musuems, among them the Musée Archaéologique.

The Frauenwerksmuseum

The Musée de l'Œvre Notre Dame dates to the 13th century - with 17th century extensions - and hosts the Museum of the History of Arts. The double-gabled building also is the seat of the cathedral workshop since the Middle Ages (from whence the name 'Work of Our Lady').

The Maison Kammerzell

The House Kammerzell at the place in front of the minster is the finest timbered house in Strasbourg. It was built in 1427 and altered in 1589; the most spendid example of late Gothic secular timber architecture in the former Holy Roman Empire. The facade displays carving of mythological and Biblical figures.

The photo shows the timbered upper floors; the basic storey is made of stone, but there were those ugly stalls that sell tourist kitch in front of it.

The Place Gutenberg

The Gutenberg Place is named after the famous printer who lived in Strasbourg 1434 - 1444. It is framed mostly by Renaissance buildings, among them the former town hall. The Gutenberg statue dates to the 19th century.

St.Thomas' Church

Strasbourg has more than one church, of course. St.Thomas' Church took several centuries to complete (1196 - 1526). The five-naved hall church shows a mix of Romanesque and Gothic elements. It proved much quieter and a lot less tourist-y than the minster.

Mediterranean flair - houses in the Grand Rue

The Grand Rue is the main street of the old town. It already was the main road of the Roman fort at the site. Most of the houses we can admire today were built by artisans and craftsmen in the 16th to 18th centuries.

Half-timbered houses in Petite France

Petite France - Little France - is the name of the quarter which in Mediaeval times housed the workshops and living places of tanners, butchers, fishermen and other smelly and less savoury occupations. Later it became the site of brothels and cheap pubs. The name 'Little France' comes from the French disease (syphilis) which could easily be contacted there.

The Tanners' Street in Petite France

Nowadays the pretty half-timbered houses in the typical style of the Rhineland, dating mostly to the 16th and 17th centuries, have been renovated, and the Petite France has become one of the tourist attractions of Strasbourg. There are a lot of small winstubs (wine houses) and gift shops.

More pretty houses in Petite France

The old town of Strasbourg is located on a isle between two branches of the river Ill shortly before it confluences into the Rhine. The Roman fort was located on the island, later the Mediaeval town developed at the site which is known as Grande Île. The entire 'Grand Island' was granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1988.

Petite France seen from the boat

With so much water about, boat tours around the Grand Island and the river Ill leading to the European Quarter are offered on a regular schedule. In fact, they are so popular that it is best to book a few hours in advance. On a sunny evening, such a tour is a lovely way to explore the town.

The navigation lock

With the construction of the Barrage Vauban, the Vauban Dam (photos see below) in 1690, the water level changed and made a navigation lock neccesary. Its passage is part of the boat tour.

More pretty houses, this time at the lock

The lock is situated in the French quarter. You can see the boat coming up in the foreground, and some more lovely half-timbered houses in the background.

The Ponts Couverts

Most famous among the many bridges connecting the Grand Island with the rest of the town are the Ponts Couverts, once bridges covered by roofs as shelter for bowmen. They are part of the 13th century town fortifications. The four towers that protected the bridges are still intact, but the roofs of the bridges have been removed in the 18th century.

Ponts Couverts, seen from the boat

A system of sluices and timber screens under the bridges allowed a controlled flooding of parts of the town in case of defense. Later, the Vauban fortifications would take over the main line of defense.

The Barrage Vauban, seen from the boat

The Vauban Dam worked pretty much the same way as the Ponts Couverts; it could be closed by shutters under the archs to rise the water level, which meant that the Petite France would be partly flooded - one would sacrify a poor quater to defend the more important areas around the minster and the Place Kléber.

The Vauban fortifications

The dam is named after the famous French general and military engineer Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban (1633 - 1707). His most importat works - more than 150 in all - were constructed during the reign of King Louis XIV and included town or sea fortifications in Luxembourg, Calais, La Rochelle and Arras. Vauban became Marshal of France in 1703, aged 70.

Pretty houses at the Ponts Couverts

The morning sun, the fresh green of spring, and those nice old houses in half-timbered style or coloured roughcast make for lovely photos. I picked just a few out of some 250 I took in Strasbourg for this post.

Chestnut trees in bloom along the Ill

The boat tour includes a turn to the European Quarter, else I would not have bothered to walk out there and look at lots of glass. The passage on the Ill along the chestnut alley is really lovely in spring.

European Parliament

Strasbourg is one of the official seats of the European Parliament. The building dates to 1999 and includes more than a thousand offices, 18 great halls, restaurants, hairdressers and lots of other amenities. During the session weeks, a whole trek of politicians, bureaucrats and administration members travels from Brussels to Strasbourg, including a score of trucks full of files.

European Court of Human Rights

The aluminium complex (1994) of the European Court of Rights is supposed to look like the scales of justice from above. The angle from the river gives an idea of that though it is not perfect. The main court room covers 860 square metres with 260 seats; there are ten more courts and meeting rooms.

Pretty houses behind the Minster

Those typical Rhineland style half-timbered houses, often with pretty decorations, can be found the in the quarter around the minster as well. My hotel was in that street, but impossible to photograph because the street is so narrow.
 
Comments:
Eine schöne virtuelle Tour durch Strasbourg :-) Ich kann mir schon vorstellen, dass es eine Stadt mit vielen unterschiedlichen Gesichtern ist. Bisher kennen wir es noch nicht. Deine Bilder machen durchaus Lust darauf, es irgendwann einmal anzuschauen.

Danke fürs Teilen und liebe Grüße von der Silberdistel
 
Liebe Silberdistel, ich kann Strasbourg durchaus empfehlen, aber vermeidet die Hauptsaison. Es ist eh schon viel los, und dann kommen auch noch die Touristenherden von den Rhein-Kreuzufahrtschiffen. ;.)
 
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The Lost Fort is a travel and history blog based on my journeys in Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, the Baltic Countries, and central Europe. It includes virtual town and castle tours with a focus on history, museum visits, hiking tours, and essays on Roman and Mediaeval history, illustrated with my own photos.


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Location: Goettingen, Germany

I'm a blogger from Germany with a MA in Literature and History, interested in everything Roman and Mediaeval, avid reader and sometimes writer, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, photographer, and tea aficionado. And an old-fashioned blogger who still hasn't got an Instagram account.
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To come


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Bearded Seals
Dog Sledding With Huskies
Eagles and Gulls in the Trollfjord


The Baltic Sea

A Baltic Sea Cruise

The Curonian Spit in Lithuania
Beaches at the Curonian Spit
Geology of the Curonian Spit



Mediaeval History

General Essays

by Country
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Post-Mediaeval History
History and Literature
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Mediaeval History

General Essays

Mediaeval Warfare

Sieges
Trebuchets

Weapons
Late Mediaeval Swords

Mediaeval Art and Craft

Mediaeval Art
The Choir Screen in the Cathedral of Mainz
The Gospels of Heinrich the Lion
The Hunting Frieze in Königslutter Cathedral
Mediaeval Monster Carvings
The Viking Treasure of Hiddensee

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Medical Instruments

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The History of Feudalism
The Beginnings
Feudalism in the 10th Century

Special Cases
The privilege of the deditio

The Hanseatic League

The History of the Hanseatic League
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Hanseatic Architecture
Examples of Brick Architecture
Hall Houses (Dielenhäuser)

Goods and Trade
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Towns of the Hanseatic League
Riga
Stralsund
Tallinn / Reval

The Order of the Teutonic Knights

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The Conquest of Danzig
The Siege of Vilnius 1390

The Vikings

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The Viking Treasure of Hiddensee

Viking Ships
The Nydam Ship


Essays by Country

Germany

Geneaology

List of Mediaeval German Emperors
Anglo-German Marriage Connections

Kings and Emperors

The Salian Dynasty
King Heinrich IV

Staufen against Welfen
Emperor Otto IV

Princes and Lords

House Welfen
Heinrich the Lion's Ancestors
The Dukes of Braunschweig-Grubenhagen
Otto the Quarrelsome of Braunschweig-Göttingen

The Landgraves of Thuringia
The Ludowing Landgraves of Thuringia
Albrecht II and Friedrich I of Thuringia

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Duke Otto of Northeim
Prince Wilhelm Malte of Putbus

Counts and Local Lords
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The Counts of Winzenburg

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Royal Troubles
Otto IV and Bishop Adalbert II of Magdeburg

Local Feuds
The Lüneburg Succession War
The Thuringian Succession War
The Star Wars


England

Kings of England

House Plantagenet
Richard Lionheart in Speyer
King Henry IV's Lithuanian Crusade

Normans, Britons, Angevins

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Contested Borders

Northumbria
King Stephen's Troubles with King David of Scots


Scotland

Kings of Scots

House Dunkeld
Malcolm III and Northumbria
Struggle for the Throne: Malcolm III to David I
King David and the Civil War, Part 1
King David and the Civil War, Part 2

Houses Bruce and Stewart
The Early Stewart Kings

Local Troubles

Clan Feuds
MacLeans and MacDonalds
A Scottish Wedding

Scotland and England

The Wars of Independence
Alexander of Argyll
The Fight for Stirling Castle


Wales

Welsh Princes

The Princes of Gwynedd
The Rise of House Aberffraw

Wales and England

A History of Rebellion
Llywellyn ap Gruffudd to Owain Glyn Dŵr


Denmark

Kings of Denmark

House of Knýtlinga
Harald Bluetooth's Flight to Pomerania

Danish Rule in the Baltic Sea

The Duchy of Estonia
Danish Kings and German Sword Brothers


Norway

Kings of Norway

Foreign Relations
King Eirik's Scottish Marriages
King Håkon V's Swedish Politics
Beginnings of the Kalmar Union

Feuds and Rebellions

Rebels
Alv Erlingsson of Tønsberg


Sweden

Troubles and Alliances

Scandinavian Unity
Beginnings of the Kalmar Union


Livonia
(Latvia and Estonia)

Contested Territories

Livonian Towns
The History of Mediaeval Riga
The History of Mediaeval Tallinn


Lithuania

Lithuanian Princes

The Geminid Dynasty
Troublesome Cousins - Jogaila and Vytautas

The Northern Crusades

The Wars in Lithuania
The Siege of Vilnius 1390


Poland

Royal Dynasties

The Jagiełłonian Kings
Władysław Jagiełło and the Polish-Lithuanian Union

The Northern Crusades

The Conquest of Pomerania / Prussia
The Conquest of Danzig


Bohemia

Royal Dynasties

The Bohemian Kings of House Luxembourg
King Sigismund and the Hussite Wars


Luxembourg

House Luxembourg
King Sigismund


Flanders

More to come


Roman History

The Romans at War

Forts and Fortifications

The German Limes
The Cavalry Fort Aalen
Limes Fort Osterburken
Limes Fort Saalburg

The Hadrian's Wall
Introduction
The Fort at Segedunum / Wallsend

Border Life
Exercise Halls
Mile Castles and Watch Towers
Soldiers' Living Quarters
Cavalry Barracks

Campaigns and Battles

Maps
The Romans in Germania

The Pre-Varus Invasion in Germania
Roman Camp Hedemünden
New Finds in 2008

The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
Museum Park at Kalkriese

The Battle at the Harzhorn
Introduction

The Batavian Rebellion
A Short Introduction

Roman Militaria

Armour
Early Imperial Helmets
Late Roman Helmets
The Negau B Helmet

Weapons
Weapon Finds at Hedemünden
The pilum
Daggers
Swords

Other Equipment
Roman Saddles


Famous Romans

The Late Empire

Alaric
The Legend of Alaric's Burial


Roman Life and Religion

Religion and Public Life

Religion
Curse Tablets and Good Luck Charms
Isis Worship
Memorial Stones
The Mithras Cult

Public Life
Roman Transport: Barges
Roman Transport: Amphorae and Barrels
Roman Water Supply

Architecture
Roman Public Baths

Domestic Life

Roman villae
Villa Urbana Longuich
Villa Rustica Wachenheim

Everyday Life
Bathing Habits
Children's Toys
Face Pots


Other Times

Neolithicum to Iron Age

Germany

Development of Civilisation
European Bread Museum, Ebergötzen
The Hutewald Project in the Solling
Open Air Museum Oerlinghausen

Neolithic Remains
Stone Burials of the Funnelbeaker Culture
The Necropolis of Oldendorf

Bronze Age / Iron Age
The Nydam Ship

Scotland

Neolithic Orkney
The Neolithic Landscape of Orkney
Ring of Brodgar
Skara Brae
Life in Skara Brae

Bronze Age / Iron Age
Clava Cairns
The Brochs of Gurness and Midhowe - Their Function in Iron Age Society

Scandinavia

Bronze / Iron Age
The Ship Setting of Gnisvärd / Gotland


Post-Mediaeval History

Explorers and Discoveries

Explorers
Fram Expedition to the North Pole
Fram Expedition to the South Pole

Discoveries
Otto von Guericke and the Magdeburg Hemispheres
Raising a Wreck, Now and Then (Vasa Museum in Stockholm)


History and Literature

Germany

The Weimar Classicism
Introduction


Geology

Geological Landscapes: Germany

Baltic Sea Coast
Chalk Cliffs on Rugia
Flint Fields on Rugia

Harz Mountains
Bode Valley and Rosstrappe Cliff
The 'Hübichenstein' Rock
Karst Formations in Southern Harz
The Lonau Falls
The Rhume Springs
Sandstone Formations: Daneil's Cave
Sandstone Formations: Devil's Wall
Sandstone Formations: The Klus Rock

Meissner / Kaufunger Wald
Blue Dome near Eschwege
Diabase and Basalt Formations
Karst Formations
Salt Springs at the Werra

Solling-Vogler
Raised Bog Mecklenbruch
Hannover Cliffs

Geological Landscapes: Great Britain

The Shores of Scotland
Staffa

Geological Landscapes: Baltic Sea

Lithuania
Geology of the Curonian Spit

Fossils and Other Odd Rocks

Fossilized Ammonites
The Loket Meteorite (Czechia)



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