Monday, April 27, 2009

A weekend in Strasbourg

I’m back from a three days weekend in Strasbourg, where I had a wonderful time. The weather was great. This was my first time in Strasbourg and I really enjoyed it. And as I always like to give a philatelic twist to such visit, before living I checked if there were some stamps related to Strasbourg among the stamps issued by the French postal administration. I found quite a lot therefore I selected few of them to illustrate this post.

(Pictures of stamps are coming from the
Phila Echange website).

First of all, in case you don’t know it, Strasbourg is a city located in the north east of France, near the border with Germany. Strasbourg is the capital of Alsace and is the ninth largest of France (counted in inhabitants). Historically disputed between France and Germany, this area is strongly marked by a mixture of French and German culture.

Strasbourg is a very nice city located on the Ill river; its historic center was classified a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1998. This was the first time that such an honor was given to an entire city center. One of the landmarks of the city is the cathedral, Notre Dame de Strasbourg, a Roman Catholic cathedral whose construction started in 1176, to be completed only in 1439 with the north tower that was the world’s tallest building from 1647 until 1874. The south tower that was originally planned was never built, giving to the church a very characteristic asymmetrical form. Here is a picture of the cathedral that I took from the border of the river.

The cathedral is pictured on various French stamps, but the one giving the best view is this stamp issued on the 23rd of June 1939 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the completion of the tower.

In the rightt top corner of the stamp we can see the coat of arms of Strasbourg that is also the subject of a stamp issued on the 5th of March 1945.


The cathedral has been built using sandstone, which gives its pink color. The façade of the cathedral is fully covered with sculptures, as you can see on the close up I made here.





One of these sculptures is the subject of a stamp issued on the 25th of January 1971 in the artistic series.

A detail of the stained-glass windows of the church is also the subject of a stamp from the artistic series, issued on the 15th of April 1985.


Another landmark of this area is the half-timbered houses that are very characteristic of the Alsace region. Here is an example of such houses in a part of the historic center of Strasbourg which is called La Petite France (the small France).


Such houses, that are called Alsatian houses, are the subject of a stamp issued on the 10th of September 2003 within the series: La France à Voir (France to see).


Another reason that makes Strasbourg famous in the rest of Europe and of the world is that it is the seat of several European institutions, such as the Council of Europe (stamp issued on the 3rd of June 1952)…


The European court of Human rights…

Or the European parliament (stamp issued on the 7th of December 1998).



Alsace is a French region which is also famous for its wines and its gastronomy. You may have already tried one of the typical meals from this area, the Choucroute, made with sauerkraut and various types of meats. Here is a picture of this meal illustrated on a stamp issued on the 21st of March 2005 is the series La France à vivre (France to live).


And to conclude, let me also mention the storks that you can still see in this area, located on top of the chimneys of some houses, as shown on this stamp from 1973.

Strasbourg is really a nice city, and Alsace is a really pleasant region. Don’t hesitate to visit it if you have the opportunity!

You can see
here, more of my pictured taken during the weekend.

3 comments:

lefung said...

Really nice places! if got chance sure will visit it.

Suzele said...

You can find more photos and info about the rest of Alsace at www.getalsaced.com

If you like Strasbourg, the wine road villages will blow you away :)

Velu said...

Brilliant post again Eric. Glad to see that all's well at your end and the blog is going great as usual.

Keep up the good work.

Cheers,
Velu