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At the site of Strasbourg, the Romans established a military outpost and named it Argentoratum. It belonged to the Germania Superior Roman province. From the 4th century, Strasbourg was the seat of the Archbishopric Strasbourg.The name Strasbourg comes from Strateburgum, ‘the city of the roads’, because of its strategic geographical position on the west bank of the Rhine.  

The city was already a thriving commercial centre in the Middle Ages, when building began on the impressive Cathédrale Notre-Dame. Its intellectual and artistic heights were reached during the Renaissance. In 1566, the university was founded and leading figures of the Reformation settled in Strasbourg. Religious strife caused considerable upheaval during the 16th and 17th centuries, although the 1681 annexation of the city by France brought stability and enabled Strasbourg to reassert its economic strength. Its symbolic significance as a major European city was confirmed when it was chosen as the seat of the Council of Europe in 1949, the European Court of Human Rights in 1994 and the European Parliament, the position of which was finally guaranteed in 1992. After Paris, Strasbourg is now France’s most important diplomatic town.

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