Luxembourg, Gibraltar of the north

Monday, 13 December 2010 - 04:44 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, European Union, European Capital of Culture
Reading Time:  6 minutes

Luxembourg Fortress from Adolphe Bridge © Cayambe

Luxembourg Fortress from Adolphe Bridge © Cayambe

Whilst the Luxembourg fortress was a true textbook example of European military architecture, it has changed hands many times over its existence. Italian, Spanish, Belgian, French, Austrian, Dutch and Prussian engineers have been involved in progressively extending the fortifications of this stronghold. Traces of their work remain, and what traces! Since 1994, the fortifications and the old city have been classed as a UNESCO world heritage site.

An extraordinary network of 23km of underground galleries, the famous casemates, which were carved from the city’s rocks constitute the city’s main attraction. The corridors were created on different levels, ranging down to 40 meters in depth. Because of these fortifications Luxembourg is also known as “Gibraltar of the North”. Parts of the casemates still exists today. Some houses have direct access to the casemates in the basements.

The Grand-Duke’s residence, the Grand-Ducal palace, has an exceptionally beautiful facade in Flemish Rennaissance style (16th century), and a majestic interior and ceremonial rooms open to the public during the summer only. In the Notre-Dame Cathedral, 17th century rood screen contrasts with the 20th century windows.

The medieval houses in the outlying areas harmoniously blend with the avant-garde architecture of the Kirchberg plateau, the European institution area.

European Court of Justice © Anders Gardebring

European Court of Justice © Anders Gardebring

European capital
Luxembourg has always held a privileged position in the process of European integration. Since the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1952, several European institutions have set up in the capital. The birthplace of one of the fathers of Europe, Robert Schuman, Luxembourg has the vocation of playing the role of one of the European capitals not only due to its geographical situation right in the heart of Europe, but also due to its multilingualism. Cosmopolitan and welcoming, with a population made up of almost 150 different nationalities, the city is a real economic, social and cultural melting-pot.

Juggler Statue © E.peiffer@gmx.net

Juggler Statue © E.peiffer@gmx.net

Thriving cultural center
In Luxembourg, the museums appear in ceremonial garb. The Luxembourg City History Museum retraces the high points of the over one thousand years of history of a European city with human dimensions whilst the National Museum of History and Art hosts one of the most beautiful Roman mosaics north of the Alps. The permanent and temporary exhibitions of the National Museum of Natural History “natur musée” fascinate adults anc children whilst modern art-lovers should head to the Casino Luxembourg – Forum of Contemporary Art.

Musée de la Forteresse - Fort Thüngen © Jean-Noël Lafargue

Musée de la Forteresse – Fort Thüngen © Jean-Noël Lafargue

The Museum of Modern Art Grand-Duc Jean MUDAM is one of the most ambitious architectural and cultural projects ever undertaken in the Grand Duchy. The Chinese American architect Ieoh Ming Pei came up with, designed then transformed the Thüngen fort, a highly strategic military location at the time in a strategic location for artistic creation. Close to the MUDAM is the Philharmonie, another architectural gem on the Kirchberg plateau which hosts some of the most prestigious musical groups.

The city’s “Grand Théâtre” hosts and coproduces operas, musical, dance shows and plays in French, German and English. Throughout the seasons, the city of Luxembourg offers a range of colourful concerts and festicals, from “Printemps musical” (music in the springtime), via the festival for unity “Summer in the City” and the Indian summer “Live at Vauban” to “Winterlights”, whilst “Schueberfouer”, one of the biggest funfairs in Europe attracts over 2 million visitors every year.

Place d'Armes © Wolfgang Stuck

Place d’Armes © Wolfgang Stuck

The art of living
There are plenty of opportunities to celebrate in Luxembourg, which are always enhanced by culinary art. The many restaurants offer refined cuisine and excellent service. The vast green spaces in the Pétrusse Valley, the public parks and thepicturesque banks of the Alzette are the ideal setting for relaxation whilst the pedestrian area is a true shopping thoroughfare which includes a wide choice of boutiques and high street shops.

To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facepage pages/Twitter accounts. Read more on City of Luxembourg, VisitLuxembourg.com, Luxembourg City Tourism, Wikivoyage Luxembourg and Wikipedia Luxembourg. Learn more about the use of photos.




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