Friday, September 2, 2011

Strasbourg - architecture

It is hard to know just where to aim your camera here.... it really does feel like you are moving through various time periods as you wander down the streets.  The older part of the city is called Petite France ...not because it looks like France, but because that is the area where they had the hospital for people suffering from syphellis... known as "the french disease"  hahaha   French disease or not, you feel like you have been flung back into medieval times.  The area, which was also the centre for tanning houses and slaughter houses, is full of traditional  black and white half-timber framed houses (the timber beams are exposed on the outsdie of the house, and the parts in-between the timber were filled in with mud, loam, straw, gravel, etc).
Les Ponts Couverts
Quai des Bateliers

Strasbourg (the centre of the city) is actually built on a little island surrounded by the Ill River.  You feel surrounded by canals and bridges everywhere you go!   Some of the bridges have the remains of the old military towers that formed part of the city's defence.  The 'covered' parts of Les Ponts Couvert are no longer there, but the towers still guard the sides!

St. ThomasChurch
  Move a couple of blocks away, and the architecture changes again!  Check out another of the 'heritage' cathedrals.  This one is St. Thomas's Church, which is the protestant church in town (at one point, the bigger cathedral was protestant, but then it became catholic the area (which had been german) was annexed to France.  This place has a complicated history!

I do love it that you can see its mixed linguistic heritage in the food, li you have" flamme-küche".  It does feel wierd saying a word that sounds half french and half german!   Wierd, but fun.

Here are two roofline shots from Strasbourg.  I like both of these houses.... They are almost the same, but it is like one builder liked angular symmetry, and the other liked curved and flowing lines (and more decorative elements).  I also love the sky here:  like cotton batting scattered across a field of blue!

Same building seen from the Tower
 The other thing I like about those two houses is that I think they are really ONE house (La Musee de l'Eglise).  You can see that more clearly in this shot, taken from above instead of from below.  Here is the view of those two houses taken from half way up the cathedral tower (the black lines on the side of the photo are the edges of the very thin window that was cut into the tower!)  You can see the houses are joined by a wall, and share a courtyard.  They also are made of the same pink sandstone as both the Strasbourg Cathedral and the St. Thomas Church (taken from the Voges Mountains).


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