The city was a major commercial center already in the Middle Ages, with the beginning of the construction of the Notre-Dame Cathedral. The Renaissance brought it to intellectual and artistic heights. In 1566 there was founded the university, attracting the leading figures of the Reformation.
Protestant iconoclasm caused considerable upheaval in 16-17 centuries.
In September 1681 Strasbourg was annexed by France, bringing stability and reasserting the economic strength of the city.
Strasbourg is considered a symbolic major city. In 1949 it was chosen to be the seat of the Council of Europe and in 1994 it was appointed the seat of the European Court of Human Rights and the European Parliament. Nowadays Strasbourg is the second important political and diplomatic town.
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