Strasbourg

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Strasbourg

Coordinates: 48°35′04″N 7°44′55″E / 48.584445°N 7.748612°E / 48.584445; 7.748612

Strasbourg (French pronunciation: [stʁazbuʁ]; Lower Alsatian: Strossburi, [ˈʃd̥rɔːsb̥uri]; German: Straßburg, [ˈʃtʁaːsbʊɐ̯k]) is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in north-eastern France and the de facto co-capital city of the European Union for it is the official Seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin department. The city is near enough to Germany to have a Germanic name.[5] In 2006, the city proper had 272,975 inhabitants and its urban community 467,375 inhabitants. With 638,670 inhabitants in 2006, Strasbourg's metropolitan area ("aire urbaine") (only the part of the metropolitan area on French territory) is the ninth largest in France. The transnational Eurodistrict Strasbourg-Ortenau has a population of 884,988 inhabitants.[6]

Strasbourg is the seat of several European institutions such as the Council of Europe (with its European Court of Human Rights, its European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and its European Audiovisual Observatory) and the Eurocorps as well as the European Parliament and the European Ombudsman of the European Union. The city is the seat of the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine.

Strasbourg's historic city centre, the Grande Île ("Grand Island"), was classified a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1988, the first time such an honor was placed on an entire city centre. Strasbourg is fused into the Franco-German culture and although violently disputed throughout history, has been a bridge of unity between France and Germany for centuries, especially through the University of Strasbourg, currently the largest in France, and the co-existence of Catholic and Protestant culture.

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