A real 'Gibraltar of the North'
Due to its strategic position, the Fortress of Luxembourg was, from the 16th century until 1867, when it was dismantled, one of the strongest fortified places in Europe.
Reinforced many times, whenever ownership passed from one major European power to the next (Holy Roman Empire, the House of Burgundy, the Habsbourgs, the kings of Spain, the kings of France and eventually the Prussians), its fortifications came to be a real 'Gibraltar of the North'. The fortifications covered a total of 180 hectares (444 acres).
UNESCO World Heritage Site
The remains of the fortifications are visible throughout Luxembourg City. Following the Treaty of London, signed on May 11, 1867 between the major European powers, the fortifications were dismantled and only 10% remain visible today.
Today, the remains of the fortress — with its forts, bastions and casemates — as well as the old part of the city, are of much historical interest and international renown. In 1994, UNESCO added them to the World Heritage list.
The casemates of the Bock and Pétrusse valley reflect the glorious past of the city-fortress. Listed as UNESCO World Heritage since 1994, these labyrinthine underground galleries hewn in the rock are unique in the world.
They make up an extraordinary network of 17km of underground galleries and more than 40,000m2 of bomb shelters, dug into the rocky underground of the city. During the two World Wars, they served as a shelter to protect up to 35,000 people in case of raids or shelling.
Musée Dräi Eechlen — Fortress, History, Identities
Partially demolished following the dismantling of the fortress of Luxembourg in 1867, the remains of the Fort Thüngen and its surroundings were uncovered, restored and rebuilt to accommodate the Musée Dräi Eechelen. The museum, which opened in July 2012, is located next to the Mudam, the Museum of Modern Art (Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean). It informs the visitor about the Fortress of Luxembourg, its history and identities and also provides the basis of information for the Vauban Circular Walk.
Information about guided tours of the fortifications
For information and / or to visit the ancient fortifications of the Fortress of Luxembourg, visit the Luxembourg City Tourist Office.
- The Wenzel Circular Walk , entitled '1,000 years in 100 minutes', is a journey through time and space and includes the following attractions: the Bock cliff, the old town, the Wenceslas wall and the Alzette valley with its characteristic fortifications.
- The Vauban Circular Walk leads through the historical districts of the city, the old gates of the city, the casemates, and across fortified bridges and several bastions. The circuit is named after Vauban, the famed French fortifications engineer during the reign of Louis XVI.