Luxembourg: 25 years of UNESCO world heritage
Immerse yourself in the living history of the UNESCO-protected Luxembourg Old Town. It has enjoyed world heritage status for exactly 25 years.
Luxembourg is full of life. With its international flair and the many languages that echo through its streets, it is a modern, vibrant city. Yet at the same time Luxembourg is a place in which history is very much a sensory experience. The remains of the old fortress, the “Gibraltar of the North”, from which the city and country were defended in times gone by, are to be found everywhere. A view of the mighty walls from the leafy Grund district, while strolling along the Alzette past the Neumünster Abbey, is especially beautiful. From this vantage point one can look up at the impressive Bock cliffs, one of the most important UNESCO sights. The subterranean casemates are the longest in the world, with windows carved out of the stone at regular intervals.
Nowadays, the structural witnesses of this defensive past blend harmoniously with the cityscape. Many of them have undergone a metamorphosis. For example, you need to take a closer look and explore the interior to discover the fortress walls beneath the Villa Vauban built in the classical style in 1873. Today’s art museum is surrounded by a lavishly laid out magnificent park, which invites you to stroll and breathe deeply.
A visit to the Dräi Eechelen Museum in the vicinity of the Mudam Contemporary Art Museum is a trip into both past and present at once. In turn, the latter building is a symbiosis of past and present. Surrounded by fortress walls, the museum itself is a modern and impressive edifice by star architect Pei, with exhibition rooms bathed in light, showcasing contemporary art.
One thing is evident in Luxembourg: the UNESCO World Heritage remains are not redolent of a museum but rub shoulders with modernity. A city characterised by tolerance and conviviality, it is a city that is “Naturally Europe”.
Experience UNESCO in the Visitor Center
At the heart of the world heritage site is the “UNESCO Visitor Center” in the Lëtzebuerg City Museum, a place for immersing oneself in UNESCO world cultural heritage history, its significance and distinctive features. Displays, some of them interactive, show the protected Old Town and Fortifications. Anyone looking out of the window can compare models and drawings directly with reality. And anyone completing the 2.5 km long UNESCO Old Town and fortress walking tour can experience the world heritage site in less than 90 minutes.
UNESCO programme and up-to-date information can be found at www.worldheritage.lu