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Looking down on Strasbourg from the Cathedral. Strasbourg is the capital of the Alsace region and the Bas-Rhin department. It is the ninth largest city in France and is the home of the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, and Eurocorps (the European Union's military forces). It is an important center of manufacturing and engineering, and has a port on the Rhine River. The Celts first settled the site in about 1300 B.C. It became a part of the Roman Empire in 12 B.C. In A.D. 923 it became part of the Holy Roman Empire. The University of Strasbourg is the largest university in France.