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Things to do in Luxembourg

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Castle of Vianden
Vianden Castle was built between the 11th and 14th Century on the foundations of a Roman castle and a Carolingian refuge. This Castle-Palace bears the Hohenstaufen characteristics and is one of the largest and finest feudal residences of the Roman and Gothic eras in Europe. Until the early 15th Century it was home to the powerful Counts of Vianden who could boast of their close connections to the German Imperial Court. The greatest of them, Count Henry I (1220 -1250) was even married to a member of the Capetian family, which ruled France at the time. In 1417, the castle and its lands were inherited by the younger line of the German House of Nassau, which -in 1530- also acquired the French principality of Orange. The castle's most remarkable rooms; the chapel as well as the small and the grand palaces were built in the late 12th and the first half of the 13th Century. In 1890 the castle became the property of Grand Duke Adolphe of the elder line of Nassau and remained in the hands of the Grand Ducal family until 1977 when it was transferred into state ownership. It has been painstakingly restored to its former glory and today ranks among the most significant historical monuments of Europe.
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Grand Ducal Palace
As the town residence of the Grand Duke, the grand-ducal palace has unquestionably one of the most beautiful façades in the city (Flemish Renaissance, 16th century). Majestical interior and splendid above stairs (with light design by Ingo Maurer) can be visited exclusively during summer.
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Cathedral Notre-Dame
The cathedral "Notre-Dame" of Luxembourg was built between 1613 and 1621 by the Jesuits to serve as a church to their college (now the National Library). The north gate is characteristic of the semi-Renaissance, semi-Baroque style of the period. Since 1794, it has housed the statue of the Consoler of the Afflicted. A cathedral church in 1870, it was enlarged from 1935 to 1938. The choir screen in richly sculpted alabaster, columns decorated with arabesques, stained glass from the 19th and 20th centuries, neo-Gothic confessionals, modern sculptures in bas relief, bronze gates by Auguste Trémont, are all worthy of this splendid sanctuary. The crypt is the resting place of John the Blind, King of Bohemia and Count of Luxembourg, as well as deceased members of the Grand Ducal family; the two lions flanking the entrance are also the work of Auguste Trémont.
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Bock Casemates
In 963, Count Siegfried built a fortified castle on the Bock promontory, which was soon to become the cradle of the city. In the course of the centuries, on the western side, mighty ring walls were added, which, however, did not foil the Burgundians in their attempt to conquer the city in 1443. The best builder-engineers of the new masters (the Burgundians, the Spaniards, the French, the Austrians and the German Confederation) eventually turned the city into one of the most powerful emplacements in the world, the "Gibraltar of the North". Its defences were bolstered by three fortified rings with 24 forts, 16 other strong defensive works and a unique 23 km long network of casemates: these could not only shelter thousands of soldiers and their horses, but also housed workshops, kitchens, bakeries, slaughter-houses etc.
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Former Castle of the Counts of Luxembourg
The name Luxembourg was first mentioned in 963 when count Siegfried exchanged lands for a small fortified castle by the name of Lucilinburhuc. Throughout the Middle Ages, the House of Luxembourg considerably extended its territory and power. Between 963 and 1443 Luxembourg was independent, at first as a County, then since 1354 as a Duchy. In the 14th Century and the first half of the 15th Century, four Holy Roman Emperors and four Kings of Bohemia came out of the House of Luxembourg. Thanks to its strategic position in Europe and its formidable fortress - referred to as “Gibraltar of the North” - Luxembourg was much coveted. Thus -between 1443 and 1815- the castle of Siegfried had to endure a succession of Burgundian, Spanish, French and Austrian rulers who each shaped the fortress and the surrounding countryside. After the defeat of Napoleon, the Powers of the time gathered at the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to reorganise Europe. Due to the importance of the fortress they decided to create a new country around the fortified castle on the Bock: the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
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Circular walk "Vauban Luxembourg"
The Vauban Circular Walk, named after the French fortress builder Sébastien le Prestre de Vauban (1633-1707), leads the visitor through one part of the fortifications of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Guided visits for groups up to 25 people on request. Circular walk also accessible without guide.
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National Museum of History and Art
National Museum of History and Art, archeological section. The museum has a large archaeological collection, particularly of objects discovered during the various excavations: sarcophaguses, tools, coins, jewels, grave markers, etc. the most outstanding objects being found in the excavations at Dalheim (Ricciacus) and Titelberg. The visual arts section of this museum in the capital offers the possibility of admiring a wide range of Luxembourgish painting from the 18th to the 20th century, including the post-impressionist watercolours of Sosthène Weis, paintings by Joseph Kutter, Dominique Lang, Eugène Mousset, Jean-Pierre Beckius, Nico Klopp and Auguste Trémont as well as sculptures by Auguste Trémont and Lucien Wercollier. While the museum also houses ancient sculptures and paintings (including a Charity attributed to Cranach), it also has a collection of contemporary art of undeniable originality.
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Petrusse Casemates
Their origin goes back to 1644, when the Spaniards reinforced the medieval fortifications. Under the supervision of the Swiss fortress builder Isaac von Treybach, they built - among other defence works-the powerful Beck Bastion, named after Governor Baron Johann von Beck, a native of the city who had played a key role in the Wallenstein affair on the side of the Emperor. Initially this bastion was as high as the adjacent terraces on the right; it was raised to the present level of Constitution Square (the wall is 27 meters high) by Vauban in 1685. In 1673 the Spaniards erected the so-called "Ravelin du Pate" to strengthen the defence of the Beck Bastion; this triangular construction is one of the few well-kept fortifications. Marshall de Vauban conferred the present shape to all the Petrusse fortifications and built the "Small Staircase". From 1728-29 the Austrians added the "Bourbon Lock" and the "Large Staircase" and in 1746 the casemates of the "Petrusse Battery" (54 gun emplacements). One century passed and the fortress was enlarged and reinforced: the second ring was extended and the third started, so that Luxembourg became the "Gibraltar of the North". By and by, the Petrusse fortifications fell into oblivion and neglect, as their strategic momentum limited itself to the valley. After the dismantling, stipulated by the 1867 London Treaty, they confined themselves to walling up the loopholes and most entrances. Only in 1933 were the Petrusse casemates valorized again: on 26th July, the first visitors were able to visit them.
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Beaufort Castles
The old castle, protected by a moat, was built in four periods. The oldest part of the castle dates from the early 11th century. It was a small square-shaped fortress on a massive rock, surrounded by a wide ditch and a second wall facing the valley. Around the first half of the 12th century, a flanking tower was added and the access gate was moved and enlarged.
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Edouard Andre Municipal Park
The Municipal Park, an English park laid out by landscape engineer Edouard André on the old fortified grounds at the front of the plain, is a real island of green in the heart of the city. Green spaces such as the Kinnékswiss in the city centre are the ideal place to recharge your batteries.
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National Museum of Natural History
The new building of the National Museum of Natural History opened its doors to the public in December 1996. In this modern museum are presented in ten exhibition rooms the people, the regions and landscapes of Luxembourg and the development of life on earth as well as the origin of the universe.
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