My History Blog, Focussing mostly on Roman and Mediaeval Times


21/05/2018
  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. ;.)
 
Anonymous, thank you for your kind word. I'm glad to be of help to people looking for travel and history information.
 
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The Lost Fort is a history blog based on my journeys in Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and other places. It includes essays on Roman and Mediaeval history and architecture, as well as some Geology, illustrated with my own photos of old castles and churches, Roman remains, pretty towns and beautiful landscapes.

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I'm a blogger from Germany with a MA in Literature and History which doesn't pay my bills, so I use it to research blogposts instead. I'm 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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Introduction

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A Virtual Tour through Mediaeval Ghent

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A Virtual Tour of the Town


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A Virtual Tour of the Town


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Beautiful Germany

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A Tour on the Wakenitz River

Harz National Park
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Nature Park Meissner-Kaufunger Wald
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The Hutewald Forest
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Vineyards at Saale and Unstrut

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Botanical Garden Göttingen
Hardenberg Castle Gardens
Wilhelmsthal Palace and Gardens

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Harz Falcon Park
Ozeaneum Stralsund: The Baltic Sea Life
Ozeaneum Stralsund: The North Sea Life

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Spring
Spring at the 'Kiessee' Lake
Spring in the Rossbach Heath (Meissner)

Summer
Memories of Summer
Summer Hiking Tours 2016

Autumn
Autumnal Views from Castle Windows
Autumn Photos from Harz and Werra
Autumn in the Meissner
Autumn at Werra and Weser

Winter
Spectacular Sunset
Winter at the 'Kiessee' Lake
Winter Wonderland - Views from my Balcony


Across the Channel - United Kingdom

Mountains and Valleys
Sheep Grazing Among Roman Remains
West Highland Railway

The East Coast
By Ferry to Newcastle
Highland Mountains - Inverness to John o'Groats
Some Photos from the East Coast

Scottish Sea Shores
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Mull - Craignure to Fionnphort
Pentland Firth
Staffa
Summer Days in Oban
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Wild Wales - With Castles
Hazy Views with Castles
Shadows and Strongholds
Views from Castle Battlements

Wildlife
Sea Gulls


Land of Light and Darkness - Scandinavia

Norway

The Hurtigruten-Tour
A Voyage into Winter
Along the Coast of Norway - Light and Darkness
Along the Coast of Norway - North of the Polar Circle

Norway by Train
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From Trondheim to Oslo

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


Shores of History - The Baltic Sea

Baltic Sea Cruise

Lithuania

Nida and the Curonian Spit
Beaches at the Curonian Spit




Historia
Geologia

Comblogium (Blog Roll)
Conexiones (Links)


- Roman History
- Mediaeval History
- Other Times / Miscellanea


Roman History

Wars and Frontiers

Maps
Romans in Germania

Traces of the Pre-Varus Conquest
Roman Camp Hedemünden
New Finds in 2008

The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
Museum Park at Kalkriese

The Battle at the Harzhorn
Introduction

Along the Limes
Limes Fort Osterburken
Limes Fort Saalburg

Roman Frontiers in Britain
Hadrian's Wall

Rebellions
The Batavian Rebellion

Roman Militaria

Armour
Early Imperial Helmets
Late Roman Helmets
The Negau B Helmet

Weapons
The pilum
Daggers
Swords

Other Equipment
Roman Saddles

Life and Religion

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

Everyday Life
Bathing Habits
Children's Toys
Face Pots
Styli and Wax Tablets

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

Roman villae
Villa Rustica Wachenheim

Miscellaneous
Legend of Alaric's Burial


Mediaeval History

Feudalism
Feudalism, Beginnings
Feudalism, 10th Century
The Privilege of the deditio
A Note on handgenginn maðr

The Hanseatic League
Introduction and Beginnings
Stockfish Trade


Germany

Geneaologies

List of Mediaeval German Emperors

Geneaology
Anglo-German Marriage Connections
Heinrich the Lion's Ancestors

Biographies

Kings and Emperors
King Heinrich IV
Emperor Otto IV, Introduction

Princes
Otto the Quarrelsome of Braunschweig-Göttingen
The Dukes of Braunschweig-Grubenhagen
Otto of Northeim
The Ludowing Landgraves of Thuringia
Albrecht II and Friedrich I of Thuringia

Counts and Local Lords
The Marshals of Ebersburg
The Counts of Everstein
The Counts of Hohnstein
The Lords of Plesse
The Counts of Reichenbach
The Counts of Winzenburg

Famous Feuds

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

Royal Troubles
Otto IV and Bishop Adalbert II of Magdeburg


England and Normandy

From the Conquest to King John

Normans, Britons, and Angevins
The Dukes of Brittany and the Honour of Richmond

From Henry III to the War of the Roses

Great Fiefs
The Earldom of Richmond and the Duchy of Brittany


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 (1)
King David and the Civil War (2)

Houses Bruce and Stewart
Robert the Bruce and Stirling Castle
The Early Stewart Kings

Scottish Nobles and their Quarrels

Clan Feuds
MacLeans and MacDonalds
A Scottish Wedding


Wales

Princes and Rebels

The Princes of Gwynedd
The Rise of House Aberffraw

The Rebellions
From Llywellyn ap Gruffudd to Owain Glyn Dŵr


Scandinavia

Kings and Vikings

Kings of Norway
King Eirik's Scottish Marriages

Famous Nobles and their Feuds
Alv Erlingsson of Tønsberg


Other Times / Miscellanea

Neolithicum to Iron Age

Scandinavia and Orkney
The Neolithic Landscape of Orkney
Life in Skara Brae
Ship Setting on Gotland

Post-Mediaeval History

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

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

History in Literature and Music

History in Literature

Biographies of German Poets and Writers
Theodor Fontane

Historical Ballads by Theodor Fontane (my translation)
Archibald Douglas
Gorm Grymme
Sir Walter Scott in Abbotsford
The Tragedy of Afghanistan

My own Novels in Progress
The Roman Trilogy
The Saga of House Sichelstein
Kings and Rebels

History in Opera

Belcanto and Historicism
Maria Padilla - Mistress Royal
The Siege of Calais in Donizetti's Opera

Fun Stuff

Not So Serious Romans
Aelius Rufus Visits the Future Series
Building Hadrian's Wall
Playmobil Romans

Royal (Hi)Stories
Kings Having a Bad Hair Day
The Case of the Vanished Wine Cask

Historical Memes
Charlemagne meme
Historical Christmas Wishes
New Year Resolutions
Aelius Rufus does a Meme
Rules for Writing Scottish Romances

Funny Sights
Tourist Kitsch in St.Petersburg


Geological Landscapes

The Baltic Sea
Geology of the Curonian Spit

The Harz
Bode Valley and Rosstrappe Cliff
Karst Formations in the Southern Harz
The Lonau Falls
The Rhume Springs

Meissner / Kaufunger Wald
Blue Dome near Eschwege
Diabase and Basalt Formations
Karst Formations

Solling-Vogler
Raised Bog Mecklenbruch
Hannover Cliffs

The Shores of Scotland
Staffa

Palaeontology

Fossils
Ammonites


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Digging Up Fun Stuff
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Henry the Young King (Kasia Ogrodnik)
Piers Gaveston (Anerje)
Lady Despenser's Scribery
Simon de Montfort (Darren Baker)
Weaving the Tapestry (Scottish Houses Dunkeld and Stewart)

A Mixed Bag of History
English Historical Fiction Authors
The Freelance History Writer (Susan Abernethy)
The History Blog
History, the Interesting Bits (S.B. Connolly)
Mediaeval Manuscripts Blog
Mediaeval News (Niall O'Brian)
Time Present and Time Past (Mark Patton)

Thoughts and Images

Reading and Reviews
Black Gate Blog
The Blog That Time Forgot (Al Harron)
Parmenion Books
Reading the Past
The Wertzone

Imaginations
David Blixt
Ex Urbe (Ada Palmer)
Constance A. Brewer
Jenny Dolfen Illustrations
Wild and Wonderful (Caroline Gill)

German Travel Blogs
Alte Steine
Meerblog
Reiseaufnahmen
Sonne und Wolken
Teilzeitreisender
Travelita
Unterwegs und Daheim

Highland Mountains
The Hazel Tree (Jo Woolf)
Helen in Wales
Mountains and Sea Scotland

The Colours of the World
Shutterbugs


Research

Archaeology
Past Horizons
Archaeology in Europe
Orkneyar

Roman History
Deutsche Limeskommission
Internet Ancient Sourcebook
Livius.org
Roman Army
Roman Britain
The Romans in Britain
Vindolanda Tablets

Not so Dark Ages
Burgundians in the Mist
Viking Society for Northern Research

Mediaeval History
De Re Militari
Internet Mediaeval Sourcebook
Kulturzeit
The Labyrinth
Mediaeval Crusades
Medievalists.Net

Castles
Burgenarchiv
Burgerbe
Burgenwelt
Exploring Castles
The World of Castles

Miscellaneous History
Heritage Daily
The History Files

Mythology
Ancient History
Encyclopedia Mythica

Online Journals
Ancient Warfare
The Heroic Age
The History Files

Travel and Guide Sites

Germany - History
Antike Stätten in Deutschland
Burgenarchiv
Strasse der Romanik

Germany - Nature
HarzLife
Naturpark Meissner
Naturpark Solling-Vogler

England
English Heritage
Visit Northumberland

Scotland
The Chain Mail (Scottish History)
Historic Scotland
National Trust Scotland

Books and Writing

Interesting Author Websites
Bernard Cornwell
Dorothy Dunnett
Steven Erikson
Diana Gabaldon
Guy Gavriel Kay
George R.R. Martin
Sharon Kay Penman
Brandon Sanderson
J.R.R. Tolkien
Tad Williams

Historical Fiction
Historical Novel Society
Historia Magazine

Writing Sites
Absolute Write
TheLitForum.com
National Novel Writing Month


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