Strasbourg, Grande-Île and Neustadt

N48 35 4 E7 44 56
Date of Inscription: 1988
Extension: 2017
Criteria: (ii)(iv)
Property : 183 ha
Buffer zone: 708 ha
Ref: 495bis

The initial property, inscribed in 1988 on the World Heritage List, was formed by the Grande-Île, the historic centre of Strasbourg, structured around the cathedral. The extension concerns the Neustadt, new town, designed and built under the German administration (1871-1918). The Neustadt draws the inspiration for its urban layout partially from the Haussmannian model, while adopting an architectural idiom of Germanic inspiration. This dual influence has enabled the creation of an urban space that is specific to Strasbourg, where the perspectives created around the cathedral open to a unified landscape around the rivers and canals.

The Grande-Île and the Neustadt form an urban ensemble that is characteristic of Rhineland Europe, with a structure that centres on the cathedral, a major masterpiece of Gothic art. Its distinctive silhouette dominates the ancient riverbed of the Rhine and its man-made waterways. Perspectives created around the cathedral give rise to a unified urban space and shape a distinctive landscape organized around the rivers and canals.

The French and Germanic influences have enabled the composition of a specific urban space combining constructions reflecting major significant periods of European history: Roman Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Rhineland Renaissance, French 18th century classicism, and then the 19th and early 20th centuries which saw the emergence of a modern city, the capital and symbol of the new German state.

Criterion (ii): French and Germanic influences have shaped the Grande-Île and Neustadt. They have enabled the emergence of a unique expression coming from the two cultures, which is especially conveyed in the fields of architecture and urbanism. The cathedral, influenced by the Romanesque art of the East and the Gothic art of the kingdom of France, is also inspired by Prague, particularly for the construction of the spire. It is a model that acted as a vector of Gothic art to the east. The Neustadt, a modern city forged by Haussmannian influences, and a model of urbanism, also embodies the theories of Camillo Sitte.

Criterion (iv): The Grande-Île and the Neustadt in Strasbourg constitute a characteristic example of a European Rhineland city. Integrated into a Medieval urban fabric in a way which respects the ancient original fabric, the Renaissance-style private residences built between the 15th century and the late 17th century form a unique ensemble of domestic Rhineland architecture, which is indissociable from the outstanding Gothic cathedral. In the 18th century, French classical architecture became dominant, as exemplified by the Palais Rohan, built by the king’s architect, Robert de Cotte. From 1871 onwards, the face of the town was profoundly modified by the construction of an ambitious urbanistic project, leading to the emergence of a modern, functional city, emblematic of the technical advances and hygienistic policies that were emerging at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. The private and public buildings of the urban ensemble bear witness to political, social and cultural change, with the town’s status changing from a free city of the Holy Roman Empire to a free city of the Kingdom of France, before it became a regional capital.

Suggested Bases:

Strasbourg (German: Straßburg, Alsatian: Strossburi) is the capital of the Grand-Est region of France and is most widely known for hosting a number of important European institutions. It is also famous for its beautiful historical centre – the Grande Île – which was the first city centre to be classified entirely as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Strasbourg is one of the nine largest cities in France with nearly half a million inhabitants in a metropolitan area spanning across the river into the German city of Kehl, on the eastern bank of the Rhine. The city is the seat of 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, which also holds sessions in Brussels. Strasbourg is a popular tourist destination primarily thanks to the beautifully preserved and pedestrian friendly city centre, which can be explored on foot or bicycle in a few days [read more].

Mulhouse is a city in Alsace, France west of the Rhine near the border to Germany. See Place de la Réunion. The main square of the old town of Mulhouse. Major buildings include the Temple (Protestant Church) of St. Etienne, popularly nicknamed the “cathedral”, and the old town hall. The Temple was constructed in the nineteenth century, although it looks much older, and incorporates stained glass and furnishings from the medieval building that it replaced. The former town hall, which houses the city historical museum (free entry), is notable for its elaborate mock-marble trompe d’oeil painted decoration. The old town. The mostly-pedestrianised old town is not as picturesque as some others in Alsace, as it was mainly stone rather than timber-framed, and it was severely damaged during World War II. However, it still includes some attractive old buildings, most significantly the Cour des Chaines, a 16th -century townhouse now used as an arts centre [read more].

Metz is in the Grand-Est region of France and in the Moselle departement that borders Luxembourg and Germany. Due to its German heritage and military tradition, Metz has yet to earn much respect in the eyes of the French. Most of the criticism about Metz is clichéd and unwarranted; in fact, Strasbourg has stronger German heritage yet has been overwhelmingly embraced by the French and visitors alike. Metz and the rest of the region offer much to view of historical interest, as well as a well-rounded shopping scene, ranging from the low- to high-end and including a great Saturday farmers’ market. This location has been inhabited from the days of early man, and was subsequently settled and fought over too many times to name. The first known permanent setters in the area were a Celtic tribe known as the Mediomatrici. They found that the area was rich in resources, and supposed it easier to defend, as the confluence of the Seille and Moselle rivers created several islands at this spot [read more].

One comment

  • We visited the Cathedral when we visited the Christmas Markets again last year (we were there in 2007 but skipped the cathedral then.) Stunning in so many ways.


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