Another sign Spring has sprung! The Casemates has reopened!
If you haven’t toured the Casemates, we highly recommend doing so as they encompass so much of the history of Luxembourg and wow you with its story. Let’s face it. sometimes an UNESCO World Heritage site needs to be part of the day simply because it exists! For us, this meant a perfect rainy day activity spent exploring the vast tunnels all the while taking in our fine City’s fascinating story.
We felt a little bit like Indiana Jones, (minus the rolling boulder).
We had the absolute pleasure of taking a private tour with Elke Begas whose enthusiasm was contagious. History buffs we aren’t, but she broke things down simply while sprinkling fascinating little theories like the origin of the word ‘casemates’ coming from the Spanish ‘House to Kill’ giving the tour a bit of a creepy edge. They were also a prison at one time. What went on under the cover of darkness in the 17th century? I’m thinking less Indiana Jones, more Saw?
She also made us understand why Luxembourg’s strategic geographical position made it one of the most sought after medieval fortresses in Europe. The sheer size is stunning. So large were these casemates that they housed kitchens, bakeries, horses and slept around 1200 people during the French Revolution. Housing issues? Apparently there’s plenty of room in the casemates?!
Simply due to its geography and location, throughout its history, whoever controlled Luxembourg, had a major outpost in all directions. After Lux declared their neutrality the military withdrew from the fortress and it took 16 years to destroy 90% of the defenses. Luckily for us, if the entirety of the casemates were blown up, they’d lose part of the city, and they found that they were such a feat of engineering that the rock proved impervious to explosives.
The views offered are truly some of the best in Luxembourg and you can plunge into history while taking stunning photographs of the old town. There are so many winding tunnels and spiral staircases that the whole family will be entertained. We highly recommend a guide if you want to learn specifics about the war tactics and siege through the ages and have all of your questions patiently answered while taking in this world-renowned UNESCO world heritage site.
Passionate about architecture? City tour by bike? Whatever you fancy! Check out the other tours offered here.