Luxembourg is a small country tucked in between France, Belgium and Germany. Today, the country is known to the rest of the world as a popular business hub and has the world’s second-highest GDP per capita. But what most people are not aware of is its historical heritage. It hardly takes an hour to go from one end of the country to the other, but it still has plenty of sites to explore and as many as 130 fairy tale castles. We have listed two of our favorite castles below, which you should visit when in Luxembourg.
– photo of Bourscheid Castle by @mat_chec
Bourscheid Castle (Château de Bourscheid in French and Burg Bourscheid in German) is one of the oldest castles in the country, and is located in north-eastern Luxembourg, near the picturesque Bourscheid village. The current stone structure of the castle is believed to have been built in the 11th-century, replacing an earlier wooden fort. Bourscheid Castle was self-sufficient and a village in itself, producing everything their inhabitants required like bread, wine, pottery and weapons within the castle walls.
Today, you can visit the remains of the partly-restored castle including parts of the original pavement, the main tower and inner wall which gives a good idea about how the castle looked in its heyday. If you visit the castle in the evening, you will be mesmerized by the elegant lighting, which illuminates the entire area.
“Bourscheid Castle is the largest in Luxembourg. It occupies an area of some 12000 square meters and dates back to the 11th century. It stands – as the recent archeological research says – on the foundations of an older castle which was most likely wooden. The site was known from the Roman times. The castle developed over several centuries uniting more buildings within an outer circular wall with 11 watchtowers. Technically it is split into sections – the upper and the lower castles. But unfortunately only its keep and the palace survived the harsh times. The rest of the castle is open air ruins of different ages accessible for visitors.”
– photo of Vianden Castle by @roaminpix
Located in its namesake town in north-eastern Luxembourg, Vianden Castle is about 25km away from Bourscheid Castle. This Romanesque style castle was built between the 11th and 14th centuries on the site of an earlier Roman castle. The castle later received some Gothic transformations, and in the 17th-century a Renaissance mansion was also added to it.
Till the early 15th-century, the castle was the seat of the Counts of Vianden, who were the mighty lords of an area spanning the Rhine, Mosel and Maas rivers. During that period, it was one of the most beautiful and wealthiest castles in Western Europe.
In the early 19th-century, Vianden Castle was sold by the Grand Duke of Luxembourg to an alderman (a member of the town’s municipal legislative body), which led to the demolition of the castle and selling of its parts. In the following years attempts were made to restore the Vianden Castle and in the 1980s, it was finally restored to its original glory and opened to the public.
One of the annual highlights of Vianden castle is its Medieval Festival, which is usually held in the last week of July and continues till the beginning of August. With various shows and performances like Knight camps, medieval tournaments, juggling and singing and a medieval market with food and drink stalls, attending the festival is like a journey back in time to the medieval era.
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