Exploring Fortress Ruins and Casemates in Luxembourg City

posted by Sharon November 4, 2018 28 Comments
Luxembourg City Bock Casemates

Care to tour a fortress ruin that’s not only a UNESCO site but also boasts a network of tunnels you can explore? On a visit to Luxembourg City, you will want to visit the Old Fortress ruins. How did this fortress come into existence? Luxembourg fortress

The small country of Luxembourg, steered by the capital of Luxembourg City, sits at a strategic central location in Western Europe. Bordered today by Germany, Belgium, and France, Luxembourg suffered invasions and takeovers through many centuries. Way back in 963, Count Siegfried spied the high rocky promontory on the edge of the city and ordered fortifications built on top of it. The fortress eventually boasted a ring wall and other defensive additions.

The fortress was assaulted again and again. Luxembourg City’s rulers included the Holy Roman Emperors, the House of Burgundy, the Habsburgs, the French and Spanish kings, and finally the Prussians. The busy builders of these empires produced three fortified rings with 24 forts and other strong defensive works. Due to a neutrality treaty in 1867, the fortress was demolished – but the task was obviously too difficult because today you can climb the remaining walls and marvel at the ruined parts of the fortresses popping up along the roads and greenery of Luxembourg City. Luxembourg City Castle

Luxembourg City CastleLuxembourg City CastleA steep path leads from the road below up to the main portion of the ruins. Luxembourg City Castle

If you prefer, you can take a free glass elevator that whisks you to an overlook. We spied this from down below, but we hiked up to the ruins. Good exercise, right? Luxembourg City Castle

When you stand on the ramparts of the fortress, the view will amaze you. Right below you see the medieval layout of the city, with the modern and sleek Luxembourg City just beyond. The River Alzette flows peacefully along.Luxembourg City Castle

Luxembourg City CastleLuxembourg City CastleThe tunnel system under the fortress, known as the Bock Casemates, are the product of Spanish and French ingenuity. They date to 1644, with more tunnels added in the 1700s by the Austrians. They reach as deep as 40 meters. While several branches of the casemates are closed, the main passage still exists and is open to the public. The tunnel system had 25 cannon slots for defense. The casemates could serve as a barracks for hundreds of soldiers and their horses. They also housed kitchens, bakeries, and workshops. During WWII the tunnels were used as a bomb shelter. Luxembourg City Bock Casemates

Luxembourg City Bock CasematesLuxembourg City Bock CasematesYou can wander through all the open passages, about 17 kilometers worth of winding, dirt-floored passages. You buy a ticket for 6 Euro and enter through a turn style. You have no map (though I have read of others who had a brochure; maybe we missed it). And while electricity has been added, along with stair rails, you may want to use your phone flashlight to see where you are going in the darker areas. Every now and then, you can see light at the end of the tunnel. Emerge and take in a different view, then explore more of the passages. Luxembourg City Bock CasematesLuxembourg City Bock Casemates

Luxembourg City Bock CasematesThe Bock Casemates are open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. Allow at least an hour to explore.Luxembourg City Castle

Luxembourg City CastleLuxembourg City CastleLuxembourg City Castle

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28 Comments

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Nikki - Notes of Life November 4, 2018 at 10:16 am

What a wonderful place to visit! I’m definitely going to have to add this to my bucket list. It looks so interesting.

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Calleen Petersen November 5, 2018 at 7:37 am

This sounds like a lot of fun!

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Heidrun November 5, 2018 at 8:35 am

I enjoyed this Post for Image-in-Ing… Thank you for sharing.

Heidrun xxx

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Photogeographer November 5, 2018 at 8:39 am

Very interesting post and great photos.

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Carol November 5, 2018 at 9:06 am

Another fascinating history post with wonderful photos – love it!

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Lydia C. Lee November 5, 2018 at 10:44 am

This is fantastic. I’ve not been but I’d love to go!! What a gorgeous castle!

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Lady Fi November 6, 2018 at 7:21 am

So picturesque!

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Photo Cache November 6, 2018 at 11:52 am

Pleasantly surprised. Did not give much thought to this tiny nation, but this post changed my mind. Beautiful shots.

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Katherine November 7, 2018 at 10:17 am

So many different spots to get great views from! And 20 points to you for hiking up to the ramparts, instead of taking the elevator. I think it would have been very tempting to take the easy way up! #WanderfulWednesday

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Rhonda Albom November 7, 2018 at 10:22 am

I visited Luxembourg and wandered around the old ruins but I did not go into the tunnels. I did not know that an attempt was made to tear down the fortifications because of the neutrality agreement. Your photos bring back memories of this historic city.

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Sarah November 8, 2018 at 7:22 am

Wow, I’d never seen Luxembourg from this perspective before. I’d love to both go to the overlook and go through the tunnels. Your photos are beautiful, as per usual!

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Lisa | Handmade in Israel November 8, 2018 at 7:45 am

Fabulous photos! Particularly love the aerial view of the River Alzette. I would have walked up the hill to 😉

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Georgie McRae November 8, 2018 at 1:18 pm

Great post! I’ve never been to Luxembourg but it’s definitely on the list. I love how you’ve included the history of the fortress, really adds a lot to your photos!

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Amanda November 9, 2018 at 11:59 am

Love these photos! Those tunnels look awesome, but the history is a bit surreal. I always feel strange being in places like that, but it’s an important part of history, so it’s interesting, too!

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Kimberly November 9, 2018 at 3:06 pm

What a cool experience! I have never thought of visiting Luxembourg, but this makes me very interested. I love old fortresses, like this, and the view of the city is amazing. The way you can see the modern city in the distance, with the old town, just below, is really awesome! Thanks for sharing! #TheWeeklyPostcard

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Anda November 9, 2018 at 3:10 pm

Interesting to read about the history of Luxembourg fortress. I’d love to visit this small country someday. You took so many gorgeous pictures here, I kind of envy you for that. #TheWeeklyPostcard

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Esther November 9, 2018 at 11:45 pm

Oh, I absolutely loved Luxembourg City when I visited a few years ago, it’s such a hidden city-break gem, don’t you think. I really loved the fortress and kazematten, but I was pretty amazed in general. The food I had was also stunning!
#YourWeekltPostcard

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Urska | Sliva November 10, 2018 at 6:19 am

Haven’t been to Luxemburg yet, but would love to visit it once. Looks like a really interesting city, full of reach history.

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Sara November 10, 2018 at 7:58 am

Luxembourg is so gorgeous!! I recently found the photos I took in 2004 when I visited, and I had forgotten how beautiful it is. Your pictures took me right back and reminded me that it wasn’t a dream!! I wish we had spent more time exploring because we had no idea what we were taking pictures of ! #TheWeeklyPostcard

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Brooke of Passport Couture November 10, 2018 at 5:56 pm

What a fascinating place to visit! All of the turns and unexpected curves might make me a little nervous, but your photos have me intrigued. 🙂 #WeekendWanderlust

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Jill Chapman November 10, 2018 at 6:41 pm

I’ve always thought that the smaller nations of Europe are so interesting.And I can just see Rapunzel letting down her hair from that tower!

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Usha Sitaaraam November 11, 2018 at 12:38 am

I have not been to Luxembourg yet.. Your post is so interesting and inspiring, I would love to explore the castle and it’s tnnel. Thank you so much for sharing this post. #thesweeklypostcard

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Emese November 13, 2018 at 6:21 pm

What a great place to explore! I’d love to walk through the tunnels and climb up to the ruins. I always appreciate your historical references. Thanks for sharing. #FeetDoTravel; #TheWeeklyPostcard

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Maria | passion fruit, paws and peonies November 15, 2018 at 11:23 am

This is the first time I’ve seen photos of Luxembourg. I found it so interesting because I have been doing my ancestry and have links back to here. It’s crazy to think some of them probably lived within this castle. Thanks! xx #Farawayfiles

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Emma | Ladies What Travel November 15, 2018 at 12:16 pm

This looks amazing! I really want to visit Luxembourg – I’m fascinated by the small countries in Europe. #farawayfiles

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Catherine’s Cultural Wednesdays November 16, 2018 at 9:05 am

You had me at UNESCO site, Luxembourg is plainly a city I need to visit. #TheWeeklyPostcard

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Hilary November 17, 2018 at 9:18 pm

Luxembourg seems like such a fascinating place. I think my boys would really enjoy exploring these ruins and tunnels, but I’m not sure how I’d feel about going in without a map… #farawayfiles

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Angie (FeetDoTravel) November 17, 2018 at 10:36 pm

What fabulous castles and ruins there are in Luxembourg. I am a bit of a fan of both you know, there is something beautiful about visiting ruins and well, castles speak for themselves really. Thanks for sharing this information, pinned. #feetdotravel

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