Panorama from the Barrage Vauban with the medieval bridge Ponts Couverts in the foreground.
Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region of northeastern France,
With approximately 650,000 inhabitants in the metropolitan area in 1999. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the prefecture (capital) of the Bas-Rhin departement.
Strasbourg is the seat of, among other things, the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights, the European Ombudsman, the Eurocorps, the European Audiovisual Observatory, and, most famously, the European Parliament, though the latter also holds sessions in Brussels.
At the site of Strasbourg, the Romans established a military outpost and named it Argentoratum. It belonged to the Germania Superior Roman province. The name was first mentioned in the year 12 BC ; in 1988, the city celebrated its 2000th birthday. From the 4th century, Strasbourg was the seat of the Archbishopric Strasbourg.
Strasbourg is an important center of manufacturing and engineering. The Strasbourg port is the second largest on the Rhine after Duisburg, Germany. The city is the seat of the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine.
Strasbourg's historic center, the Grande Ξle, has been classified a World Heritage site by the UNESCO in 1988, the first time such an honor was placed on an entire city center.
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