Strasbourg (German: Straßburg, Alsatian: Strossburi) is the capital of the Alsace region of France and is most widely known for hosting a number of important European institutions. It is also famous for its beautiful historical centre - the Grande Île - which was the first city centre to be classified entirely as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Strasbourg is located on the west bank of river Rhine, and has occupied a strategic position in the Upper Rhine Valley since prehistory. It was already settled from 1300 BC onwards, and developed into a Celtic market town named Argentorate. The Romans conquered the area around 12 BC, and renamed it to Argentoratum, and it developed into an important military base or castra, stationing the 8th Legion from 90 AD onwards. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Alsace was occupied by the Alemanni, a Germanic tribe, who eventually were absorbed into the Frankish empire. Somewhere in the Early Middle Ages, the town must have changed its name to Stratisburgum. After the split of the Frankish Empire in the 9th century, the Alsace became part of the Holy Roman Empire, and it stayed within the German empire until the 17th century, even when Strasbourg obtained the status of Free City in 1262.