Grande Île, the historic centre of Strasbourg, France, is an island in the Ill River. Literally “Grand Island”, Grand Île was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. At the time, the International Council on Monuments and Sites noted that Grand Île is “an old quarter that exemplifies medieval cities”. Aside from the Strasbourg Cathedral—the world’s fourth-tallest church and an ornate example of 15-century Gothic architecture—Grand Île is home to four other centuries-old churches: St. Thomas, St. Pierre-le-Vieux, St. Pierre-le-Jeune, and St. Étienne. To mark Grand Île’s status as a World Heritage Site, 22 brass plates were placed on the bridges giving access to the island. Grand Île is sometimes referred to as “ellipse insulaire” because of its shape.
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