02 October 2008


( multi view from city of Alsace ) Alsace is one of the 26 regions of France, located on the eastern border of France, on the west bank of the upper Rhine, adjacent to Germany and Switzerland. The name "Alsace" derives from the Germanic Ell-sass, meaning "Seated on the Ill"; the Ill is a river in Alsace. The capital and largest city of Alsace is Strasbourg. Previously a part of the Holy Roman Empire, Alsace changed hands between France and Germany several times between the 17th and 20th century. In the 17th century, Alsace was gradually annexed under kings Louis XIII and Louis XIV of France and made one of the provinces of France. It is frequently mentioned in conjunction with Lorraine, because possession of these two régions (as Alsace-Lorraine) was contested in the 19th and 20th century. Although Alsace has been a German dialect speaking region, today Alsatians speak French, the official language of the country they have been a part of since 1945. About 25% of the local population is still fluent in the Alsatian language (as a mother tongue) or in German (as a second language). The place names used in this article are in French. See this list for the original German place names. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alsace

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