Strasbourg's defensive ring

The defensive ring was built between 1872 and 1890 to make Strasbourg into a modern defensive stronghold and has left a military heritage that is well worth exploring.

A defensive ring beyond the city ramparts

The siege of Strasbourg in 1870 took a severe toll on the city's fortifications. When the city was annexed to Germany, the new rulers decided to rebuild the defences to make the Strasbourg into a modern defensive stronghold, with well-protected access and communication channels. The project was ambitious and set out to build a defensive ring running outside the urban ramparts surrounding the city, thereby extending defences to the suburbs and even to certain neighbouring villages.

19 forts and other buildings constructed in the CUS and the Baden region.

12 forts were built between 1870 and 1876, and 2 others between 1876 and 1882, while 5 other defensive structures were built between 1885 and 1890. Three of these buildings are to be found in Germany's Baden region, on the other side of the Rhine, while the others are to be found dotted around the outskirts of Strasbourg. The forts were initially named after German generals, but were changed to French names after 1918.

A cycle track for exploring the forts

The forts were all built along the same design, with a parade ground and ammunition store, barracks, service areas (kitchens, infirmaries, etc.), blockhouses and defence systems. A number of them have been restored by local volunteer associations and can be visited (Fort Rapp in Reichstett and Fort Frère in Oberhausbergen, for example), while all of them can be seen from the outside at least, and are on an 85 km long Franco-German cycle track.