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Place Gutenberg

Place Saint-Martin, the administrative and political centre of Strasbourg

From the Middle Ages to the 18th century,the Pfalz in place Saint-Martin (now place Gutenberg) was the political and administrative centre of Strasbourg. The statue of Guttenberg was erected in the square outside the Neubau in 1840.

It was in 1321, that the Magistrat decided that the square, which already contained St Martin’s church and its cemetery, would take on a major political role. It was therefore here that the City, which had shaken itself free of episcopal control, built its Pfalz, or Town Hall. This impressive -looking Gothic style building, with its 4 corner turrets (a model of which can be seen in the Historical Museum), became the seat of the Magistrat and the Councillors. The administrative offices were housed in a building called the Chancellerie, completed in 1462, while the Monnaie, the city’s mint, was built next to the Pfalz in 1507.

St Martin’s Church was knocked down and the cemetery removed during the Reform (1529), to be replaced by a new square, the Marché-aux-Herbes, along one side of which was built the Renaissance style Neubau, which was completed in 1585. In 1575, a large fountain, the Fischbrunnen, was built in the same classical style.

The statue of Guttenberg

This remarkable urban ensemble, which formed the civil and judicial centre of the Mediaeval/Renaissance city, was, however, almost completely destroyed over a 60-year period,starting with the Monnaie, which was demolished in 1738. The Pfalz was pulled down in 1781, as part of the Blondel plan and also due to its Gothic style, which no longer fitted into the general architectural scheme. The Chancellerie suffered serious damage in a fire in 1686 and lay unrestored until it was knocked down in 1800. Only the Neubau has survived, after becoming the Town Hall in 1781, replacing the Pfalz. The fountain was removed in 1841.

The new, revamped square, with its trees and flower beds, became place Gutenberg in 1840, to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the development of the printing press by Gutenberg, who had worked in Strasbourg from 1434 to 1444. The bronze statue, made by Pierre Jean David d’Angers, now stands over the square, which underwent further modifications in the 20th century.

  • Tram A or D - Langstross-Grand'Rue stop


67000 Strasbourg