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Strasbourg Cruises

Strasbourg , Ger. Strassburg, city (1990 pop.255,931). In Roman timesStrasbourg was called Argentoratum and was an important city in theprovince of Upper Germany. It became an episcopal see in the 4th cent.Destroyed by the Huns in the 5th cent., the city was rebuilt and calledStrateburgum [city of roadways]. After becoming part of the Holy RomanEmpire in 923, Strasbourg, with the surrounding rural area, came underthe temporal rule of its bishops. Its location at the crossroads of Flanders, Italy, France, and central Europe made it an importantcommercial center. In 1262, after some struggles with the bishops, theburghers secured the status of a free imperial city for the cityproper. An upheaval in 1332 established a corporate government in whichthe guilds played a leading role.

Medieval German literature reached its height in Strasbourg with Gottfried von Strassburg. Strasbourgaccepted the Reformation in the 1520s under the leadership of Martin Bucerand became an important Protestant center. The Univ. of Strasbourg,founded in the 16th cent. as a Protestant university, numbered Goethe and Metternichamong its students. The city's prosperity began to decline in the early17th cent. and was severely damaged by the Thirty Years War.In 1681, Louis XIV seized Strasbourg, which was confirmed in French possession by the Treaty of Ryswick. The persecutions of French Protestants after 1685 were notcarried into Strasbourg, which raised little objection to theannexation. The city enthusiastically supported the French Revolutionand thereafter increasingly adopted French customs and speech.

Bombarded by the Prussians during the Franco-Prussian War,Strasbourg was ceded to Germany by the Treaty of Frankfurt. Itwas recovered by France in 1919, following World War I. The city wasoccupied by the Germans and severely damaged in World War II. Mosthistorical monuments, however, were saved. Chief among these is theRoman Catholic cathedral, begun in 1015 and completed in 1439. It has afamous astronomic clock installed in 1574.

After thewar, the city expanded toward the east and south; in 1967 some 30neighboring towns were absorbed into a new Community of Strasbourg. In1949, Strasbourg became the seat of the Council of Europe. Strasbourg is now also the seat of the European Court of Human Rights and the European Union's European Parliament.