Thursday, October 28, 2010

Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

Luxembourg City was founded in 963 and is the country’s capital. It’s also headquarters for the European Investment Bank and home to the administrative offices of the EU Parliament.

It has to be the most provincial capital city I’ve ever seen. It can only be described as quaint and charming. The city sits amidst a valley and with its windy, hilly roads and cobblestone streets it looks like something out of a fairy tale. The oldest sections of the city have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

At Constitution Square is the Gëlle Fra memorial. Sort of. The Golden Lady commemorates the Luxembourgers who perished during WWI. She normally sits on top of a stone obelisk but she was missing. Perhaps the statue was going through renovations. I guess I’ll just have to go back and see it next time.

Not far away is the Gothic Notre-Dame Cathedral. It was originally a Jesuit church and the foundation stone was laid in 1613.

Near Notre-Dame and the government district is Clairefontaine Square. Here there is a memorial to the Grand Duchess Charlotte who reigned from 1919 – 1964. She was one of the most beloved rulers and the inscription on the bronze statue reads Mir hun lech gaër (We love you).
The Palace of the Grand Dukes is in the old town, near William II Square. It has functioned as the city residence of the royal family since 1890.
William Square is named after William II, King of the Netherlands and the Grand Duke of Luxembourg. He ruled from 1840 – 1849. One year before his death, he granted Luxembourg its first parliamentary constitution.
The Adolphe Bridge, also called the New Bridge, was built from 1900 – 1903. It crosses the Pétrusse Valley and at the time it was built it had the biggest stone arch in the world.
The “Red Bridge”, officially the Grand Duchess Charlotte Bridge, crosses the Pfaffenthal and connects the city center to the EU quarter on the Kirchberg Plateau.
The National Monument of the Solidarity on Cannon Hill commemorates the dead of WWII. It recalls the Luxembourger resistance and solidarity of the country to the Nazi occupation. In front of the monument is an eternal burning flame.
In nearby Hamm is the American Military Cemetery with over 5,000 graves of American soldiers who died in 1944-45 in the Battle of the Bulge.
A couple of kilometers from the American Cemetery, in Sandweiler, is the German Military Cemetery. There are over 10,000 German soldiers buried here that perished fighting in Luxembourg and Belgium.

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