Strasburg (Ger. Strassburg, Fr. Strasbourg), the capital formerly of the French dep. of Bas-Rhin, but since 1871 of the German imperial territory of Alsace-Lorraine, stands on the river I11 and the canals connecting the Rhine with the Rhone and Marne, 2 miles from the Rhine's left bank and 300 E. of Paris. The citadel, originally-built by Vauban (1682-84), was demolished by the Germans during the bombardment of 1870, but they have since rebuilt it and erected detached forts on the adjacent heights, so that Strasburg now ranks as a first-class fortress. Its position near the borders of France, Germany, and Switzerland gives it both commercial and strategic importance. The most celebrated building is the cathedral or minster, founded in 1015 or in 1179, but principally built between 1277 and 1439; some of the oldest parts are Romanesque, but the church as a whole is one of the sublimest specimens of Gothic architecture. Only one of the two towers was completed, with a spire of open stone-work (1439); it is 466 feet high. The minster has a remarkable clock (1838-42); in it are portions of an older one made in 1571, but there was a remarkable clock here in the 14th century. Here also are a magnificent rose-window (42 feet across), a fine pulpit, and grand stained glass. The damage done to the structure during the siege of 1870 was carefully repaired. Other notable buildings are the Protestant church of St Thomas, with the tomb of Marshal Saxe, the imperial palace, the library (formerly the castle, and then the episcopal palace), the new university, and the arsenal. Founded in 1621, the university became specially famous in the branches of medicine and philology, but was broken up during the Revolution. The university was completely reorganised as a German institution in 1872, is equipped with new university buildings (1884), magnificent laboratories, etc, and has more than 120 teachers and 850 students. The famous library, with nearly 200,000 volumes and precious Incunabula was entirely destroyed by fire during the bombardment in 1870, but was replaced by a new collection that has now swelled to 700,000 volumes. The trade, especially the transit trade, is very extensive; and the manufactures are very various - beer, pates de foie gras, leather, cutlery, engines, musical instruments, jewellery, tobacco, furniture, chemicals, etc. Pop. (1880) 104,471; (1890) 123,500; (1900) 151,041.


Strasburg, the Argentoratum of the Romans, was colonised by them during the reign of Augustus; the name Stratisburgum first appears in the 6th c. It became a free town of the German empire in the 13th c.; in 1681 it was seized by Louis XIV. in a time of profound peace, and was confirmed to him by the treaty of Ryswick. On September 28, 1870, after a seven weeks' siege, it surrendered to the Germans.