Utrecht - Wikipedia
Origins (before the 650 CE]. Centre for Christianity in the Netherlands (650-1579).. Prince-bishops. Religious buildings. The City of Utrecht. The end of independence. Republic of the Netherlands (1579-1806]. Modern history (1815-present). Population centres and agglomeration.
Utrecht (/ju:trekt/YOO-trekt  Dutch pronunciation: ['ytrext]) is the capital and largest city in the Netherlands. It is located in central Netherlands, at the Randstad conurbation's eastern corner. 
The city's old centre is home to many structures and buildings, some dating back to the High Middle Ages. Since the 8th century, it has been the Netherlands' religious center. It was the largest city in the Netherlands up to the Dutch Golden Age. Amsterdam became the country's cultural center and most populous.
Utrecht University is the largest university in the Netherlands. There are also several higher education institutions. It is centrally located in the country and serves as a hub for rail and road transport. The Utrecht Centraal, the busiest station in the Netherlands, is also found here. It hosts the second highest number of cultural events in the Netherlands after Amsterdam.  Utrecht was included in Lonely Planet's top 10 list of undiscovered places worldwide in 2012. 
There is evidence that Utrecht was inhabited earlier than this, but it dates back to the Stone Age (approx. 2200 BCE and settled in the Bronze Age (approx. 1800-800 BCE. The founding date of the city is often linked to the construction of a Roman castle (castellum) in 50 CE. After Claudius, the Roman emperor, decided that the empire should not expand northwards, a series of fortresses like this one were constructed. The Limes Germanicus defense was built along the Rhine's main branch. It was a longer route than today's Rhine flow and it helped consolidate the border. These fortresses were built to accommodate a group of approximately 500 Roman soldiers. Settlements were built near the fort to house artisans, traders, and wives and children of soldiers.