Strasbourg – Grande île you gotta go here

The Grande Ile of Strasbourg is an outstanding example of domestic architecture in the Rhine Valley in the 15th and 16th century. It showcases the eastwards movement of Gothic art in areas that were not within the core of the Gothic movement.

This unique ensemble was so much influential to the Germanic countries that its influence can be divided into three phases namely:

  • The Pillar of Last Judgment
  • The Rood Screen
  • The doors of the Façade.

Goethe considered Notre-Dame de Strasbourg a Gothic cathedral extra-ordinaire.

The Grand Ile is translated to mean the ‘Large Island’ and is used to refer to the historic center of Alsatian Capital. It is the site of the Roman castrum of Argentorate, two principal axes that are respected for the modern urban development. The Grand Ile monument ensemble consists of Rue des Hallebardes, Rue des Juifs, Rue du Dôme and Rue du Bain-des-Roses.

Apart from the beautiful array of high-pitched houses there are several churches that you would want to visit. They include;

  • St Thomas (12th-15th centuries)
  • St Pierre-le-Vieux (13th-15th centuries)
  • St Pierre-le-Jeune (12th-15th centuries)
  • St Etienne (12th century)

Other important monuments in this historic center include;

  • Palais Rohan (1732 – 1742)
  • Oeuvre Notre-Dame

The Street names in the Grand Ile reflect the guild movement. Among the most popular streets that points you to the post medieval Christian Society include; Rue des Tonneliers, Rue des Charpentiers, Rue des Ecrivains, Place du Marché-aux-Poissons, Place du Marché-aux-Cochons-de-Lait etc.

Other notable monument is the Hotel de Vile building that was constructed in 1585 and which today houses the Chamber of Commerce and the Grande Boucherie de la Ville that was built in 1587 to 1588 and is today a historic museum. Make sure you shop in the elegant boutiques and workshops, all of which have a significant historical story behind them.

If not for its history, visit this French town for its alluring beauty. It is one of the few places on earth where you can appreciate master architects and masons of yesteryears at their best. While at it, look for something ancient and buy it – it will be your reminder that you are a world travelled, urbane human being.

By Kennedy Runo on 04/09/2014 in France

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