Founded by the Merovingians in the 5th century, Strasbourg was long an important trade centre on the route between northern Europe and the Mediterranean. The city was ruled by democratic guilds in medieval times, when the cathedral, once the tallest in Christendom, was built between 1015 and 1439. Johannes Gutenberg developed the first printing press with moveable type here in 1450.

Strasbourg witnessed the Reformation in the 16th century, the founding of its university in 1567 and the debut of 'La Marseillaise' (the French national anthem) in 1792. Over ensuing centuries, the city ping-ponged between France and Germany. Strasbourg’s prominent place in Europe’s heart was confirmed when it became the seat of the Council of Europe in 1949 and of the European Parliament in 1992.

The Strasbourg Grand Mosque, the largest ever built on French soil, was a milestone 20 years in the making. Inaugurated on 27 September 2012, the architecturally striking mosque was widely regarded as a new dawn in the acceptance of Muslims in France.

Strasbourg celebrated the millennium of its cathedral and biggest icon in 2015.