Enter Luxembourg- the capital of the grand duchy, a country proud of its turbulent history of over a thousand years. When I was initially planning my trip to this country, I wondered what it had to offer to a tourist. I was a little more than surprised when I found out what it had in store.
The country itself is very small and the capital city is also called Luxembourg. It is surrounded by Germany (to the north and east), France (to its south) and Belgium (to its west). There are a lot of Luxury buses from Belgium, Germany and France to Luxembourg. It is also well connected by Air.
For a tourist, the ideal thing to do is to visit the Luxembourg tourist office. It offers many guided tours which are available in many languages. The best tour is the walk tour which lasts roughly about 90 minutes. The walk tour takes us around the main monuments, a few important squares and also gives us information about the Luxembourgish's lifestyle. As we walk from the tourist office, we see Luxembourg's rich history unfolding.
The National monument of Luxembourg solidarity - This commemorates the people who died in the II world war. This beautiful monument which symbolises the solidarity of its nation has an eternal flame burning in front.
The "Gelle Fra" memorial or the golden Lady - this was set-up in 1923. This monument commemorates people who died in the I world war. However, this was destroyed in the II world war. After extensive restoration, this gold plated female figure was open to public in 1984.
These two monuments stand out in attractions. During the tour you also get to see many stone bridges (which are still operational) famous for their huge stone arches. There is also the monument of the millennium of the city of Luxembourg. This is the foundation walls of the first stronghold of Count Siegfried of Ardenne.
One can also visit the casemates during the tour. Casemates are large defensive sub-terrain passages. These tunnels were first built by the Spanish in the 17th century. Later, a French military engineer extended them to 23kms! Today, only 17kms of the casemates are spared and are open to public. UNESCO has listed them as World Heritage. These casemates are the pride of Luxembourg as these defensive works gave it the name of "Gibraltar of the North".
Museum buffs have many museums where they can experience the history of Luxembourg. The national museum of art and history, the Tram museum, the Post & Telegraphs Museum and the history museum all offer interesting insights to the tourists.
The city also boasts of some very beautiful squares. The marvellous Theatre Square and the William's square are famous and worth a visit. The William Square, named after William II, King of Netherlands and the Grand Duke of Luxembourg has accommodated the church and the monastery of the order of St.Francis. There is also the "Place D'Armes" also named "Parlour of the City" which is an integral part of the pedestrian zone and surrounded by lots of street cafes. The Clairefontaine square named after a place of shelter near the Belgian border has the statue of the Grand Duchess Charlotte.
There are many other places of interest in Luxembourg. The country is divided into 5 regions. The Terres Rouges or the industrial region, La Mosella or the grape region, Muller Thal or the mini Suisse, Le Coeur du Bon Pays or the place known for its archaeological sites and les Ardennes or the place of many rivulets and castles. If you are the lover of nature, the mini Suisse region is worth a visit. The ideal place to visit is Echternac which is about 20kms from the city. It is very beautiful with lush green grass. The drive to the place itself is beautiful.
Luxembourg is a clean city and also the people are very good. Unlike many other countries, most people here speak English, other than German, French and Luxembourgish. The official language of the parliament is Luxembourg and the newspapers are in German and French is a language studied by the students as an optional lang. This, we were explained, is because, the country is surrounded France Germany and Belgium. For a small country, the roads are very well maintained and the traffic is also disciplined. A weekend trip to Luxembourg is quite enjoyable and relaxing.