Luxembourg City © Claude Wians
In the early morning mist, Luxembourg is reminiscent
of an ancient fairytale city, full of towers and turrets. The old
centre of town, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, can trace
its history back to the 10th century, when Siegfried, Count of the
Ardennes, built a castle on a rock above the Alzette River.
He named the castle Lucilinburhuc. Over the centuries
the castle and surrounding town was strengthened with numerous
additional fortifications, walls and gates until it became known as
the 'Gibraltar of the North'. Today the various components of the
fortress are the city's chief tourist attraction. The old centre of
town also has several museums.
Modern Luxembourg, on the Plateau du Krichberg, is
more concerned with business than pleasure, as the work of a major
international financial centre goes on inside the many modern
office complexes in the city.
Luxembourg is chock full of banks and is home to
numerous European Union institutions. The European Council of
Ministers holds their sessions in the city for three months every
year, and the European Court of Justice presides here too.
Although tourists come to the city to enjoy the
medieval charm and history, the financial prestige attracts
businessmen and the modern buzz of the place ensures that there are
good restaurants and lots of quality hotels. Luxembourg is a tiny
country and there are many wonderful excursions from the city into
the countryside and to surrounding towns.
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