Located on the River Ill, it was built in 1736 by French military engineer Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban to protect the city from flooding and other natural disasters. The dam’s construction took 11 years, and it was designed to be an impressive feat of engineering, with a total length of 814 metres and a height of 16 metres.
The Vauban dam is considered one of the most important historical monuments in Strasbourg, as well as being listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008. It stands out thanks to its intricate design, which includes five locks that are still used today for recreational boating along the river. Additionally, there are two bridges crossing over the locks – Pont Neuf (New Bridge) and Pont Vieux (Old Bridge). Both were built during Vauban’s time but have been renovated several times throughout history due to their age and wear-and-tear caused by floods or ice formations on the river.
Not only does this grand structure serve its original purpose – protecting against floods – but it also serves as a tourist attraction for visitors who come to marvel at its beauty or take part in various activities such as fishing or even swimming. Visitors can also explore nearby attractions like La Petite France district which offers stunning views over both sides of the riverbank, or take part in boat tours which pass through all five locks, allowing you to get up close with this remarkable structure from different angles.