Vianden: a place full of history in Luxembourg

Vianden is a place in the northeast of Luxembourg and has an extensive history. The city’s biggest tourist attraction is Vianden Castle. It is a medieval castle that was completely renovated by the Luxembourg government in the 1980s. In addition to the castle, it is also very nice to take the chairlift to a viewpoint and visit the hydroelectric power station. A climbing park has been open since 2006 for the active ones among us.

The city

Vianden is a town in the northeast of Luxembourg. In 2014 the town had 1864 inhabitants. Vianden is located on a river called the Our, which is a tributary of the Sure. The place is located at an altitude of approximately 200 meters and is close to the border of Luxembourg with Germany.
Source: Frans Berkelaar, Flickr (CC BY-SA-2.0)

History

The history of Vianden goes back a long time to the Middle Ages. At this time the city was surrounded by city walls and a square tower was built, called the Hockeistour. This tower can still be visited today and is used as a bell tower. The city walls were demolished in the 17th century and can therefore unfortunately no longer be visited. In the 11th century, Vianden was given city rights based on the model of Trier. From the 15th century, Vianden became a very prosperous city where many craftsmen lived. It was one of the largest cities in the country at this time and had as many as 3,000 inhabitants. At that time, the craftsmen were divided into seven different guilds: masons, tailors, goldsmiths, locksmiths, tanners, cloth weavers and coopers. In 1815, the former county of Vianden was divided by the Congress of Vienna. The largest part went to Prussia and the other parts were divided into small cantons. Since then, Vianden has been the smallest canton in Luxembourg.

Sights

Source: Gaga℘i, Flickr (CC BY-ND-2.0) Vianden Castle
The biggest tourist attraction of Vianden is Vianden Castle. This castle was built between the 11th and 14th centuries on the foundations of a previously built Roman castellum. The castle is now owned by the Luxembourg government, which has been renovating it since the 1980s. In the restored halls of the castle you can see an exhibition of old furniture, weapons and armor. When you stand outside the castle you will see that the castle has many high towers. Before you fully enter the castle, you first have to go through five different gates, the first of which has a drawbridge. The castle consists of several parts. You have the Trinitarian monastery, a monastery church, a chapel. a big palace and the small palace. The large palace was previously used as a knight’s hall.
A medieval castle festival takes place in the castle in the first week of August. For ten days, plays based on life in the Middle Ages are organized throughout the castle. There is also a medieval market, medieval games you can play and there is dancing to medieval music in the evening.

Chairlift

With a chairlift you can ascend from 230 to 440 meters. From here you have a fantastic view over the Our Valley. Please note that the chairlift is only open from Easter to mid-October. A return ticket for adults is 4.80 euros in 2017 and 2.50 euros for children.
Source: Sjaak Kempe, Flickr (CC BY-2.0) Hydroelectric power station
Very close to Vianden is the largest hydroelectric power station in Europe. Construction of the power station started in 1958 and was completed around 1964. The hydroelectric power station consists of an artificial lake and two basins. The lake is 8 kilometers long and has a capacity of more than 6 million liters of water. At night, water from the lake is pumped to the two basins. These basins are located 280 meters higher than the lake. The water is then poured down, generating electricity by means of turbines. A dam has also been built at the hydroelectric power station. This dam is 130 meters long and 30 meters high. In 2014, this dam was raised again by 50 centimeters to increase the volume of the lake. The hydroelectric power plant can be visited daily from Easter until the end of September.

Climbing park

Vianden also has a large climbing forest with sixty different parts. When you arrive, you will first receive a brief explanation from an instructor and then you can set off on your own. There are several routes, all with different levels of difficulty. There is a route that is suitable for children from 5 years old. There is also a zip line in the park, which is the longest in Luxembourg and no less than 375 meters long! In 2016, prices were 18 euros for an adult and 13 euros for a child.