Ardennes, 1992

Photos © Ruud Leeuw Photos © Ruud Leeuw


A brief outing to the Ardennes. We stayed the 1st night in this nicely redecorated castle: Chateau de Tavigny. We enjoyed its medieval atmosphere and excellent cuisine.

The Ardennes s a region of extensive forests, rolling hills and old mountains formed on the Givetian (Devonian) Ardennes mountains, primarily in Belgium and Luxembourg, but stretching into France (lending its name to the Ardennes département and the Champagne-Ardenne région), and geologically into the Eifel.
In Wallonia, the word 'Ardenne' in the singular is commonly used. Ardenne is the origin of the great industrial period of Wallonia, the second of the world (18th, 19th and 20th centuries). In France, the word 'Ardennes' in the plural, together with the definite article, is commonly used to refer to the French Department of that name. [Wikipedia]

Another look at the Chateau de Tavigny and its immediate surroundings.
The hotel was not far from Bastogne.

We also visited the town of Luxembourg and in particular the medieval remains.
The city appeared a little lifeless, but maybe that was because we visited on May 1st and all the shops were closed. We even had trouble finding a place to have lunch, thank goodness there was a Macdonald's!


The surreounding area is beautiful; we drove a scenic route and we encountered this scene somewhere.

We visited the Historic Museum at Diekirch, which offered a wealth of information on the "Battle of the Bulge'.




Next we went to Vianden, which has a beautiful castle.
There is a Dutch connection: our Queen also wears the title 'Countess of Vianden'!

The origins of Vianden date back to the Gallo-Roman age when there was a castellum on the site of the present castle.
The original name of Vianden was Viennensis or Vienna, probably derived from the Celtic vien, rock.
The first historical reference to Vianden was in 698 when there is a record of a gift in the form of a vineyard in Monte Viennense made by Saint Irmina to the Abbey of Echternach. Vianden possesses one of the oldest charters in Europe, granted in 1308 by Philip II, count of Vianden, from whom the family of Nassau-Vianden sprang, and who was consequently the ancestor of William of Orange.

In the Middle Ages, Vianden's craftsmen were recognised for their skills as tanners, drapers, weavers, barrelmakers, masons, locksmiths and goldsmiths. In 1490, they created guilds for their various trades. Over the years leathermaking became the major industry with the establishment of two tanneries at the end of the 19th century which finally closed in the mid 1950s.

The castle was built between the 11th and 14th centuries and became the seat of the counts of Vianden.
It was further developed until the 18th century but with the departure of the Counts of Luxembourg to the Netherlands combined with the effects of fire and an earthquake, it slowly deteriorated. The final blow came in 1820 when William I of the Netherlands sold it to a local merchant who in turn sold off its contents and masonry piecemeal, reducing it to a ruin... [Wikipedia]

The main construction parts of the castle which are preserved today, in particular the chapel and the small and large palaces, originate from the end of the 12th and the first half of the 13th century. The 'Quartier de Juliers' on the western side of the large palace (no longer existing today), originates from the beginning of the 14th century. The House of Nassau was only constructed at the beginning of the 17th century.
In 1820, under the reign of King William I of Holland, the castle was sold piece by piece, and as a result, it fell into a state of ruin. It was a pile of rubble until the family of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg transferred it to State ownership in 1977. Since restored to its former glory, the castle now ranks as a monument of not only regional, but European importance.


They don't build houses like these anymore... Photo taken somewhere en route by Alexander.





the End



Created 01-Aug-2009,
Updated 03-Aug-2009