Hidden canals #1: Rue de Zürich


It looks like an unkempt street fountain in the shape of a canal, here at the Place de Zürich, on the Rue de Zürich in the neighborhood of Krutenau, in Strasbourg. And that’s probably what most people would think it is. But they’d be wrong.

Strasbourg is a medieval city, many of whose streets date back 6 or 7 centuries. But the Rue de Zürich is a relatively modern street, created in 1872 by filling in the Rheingiessen Canal. I have not been able to find out exactly why they chose to eliminate this canal, but the timing corresponds to other major canal building efforts in France, most notably the Canal du Marne au Rhein.

Interestingly, there is a fountain just up the street, which celebrates the landing of a group of Swiss in the year 1576. Surely anyone who sees that fountain must be confused (well, I was, until I found out about the ancient canal), because there is otherwise no other indication that Rue de Zürich was once a famous canal!

There are a few other interesting examples of “hidden canals” I hope to share in the near future.


ZurichFountain2 ZurichFountain1