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The City of Luxembourg is known for the striking contrast between its old fortifications, classic 18th and 19th century buildings, and modern architectural gems. In 1994, the city's Old Town and fortifications were made a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
UNESCO promotes the identification, protection and conservation of cultural and natural heritage sites all over the world that are deemed to be of outstanding universal value.
To mark the occasion, the City of Luxembourg and the National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO have produced a video, showing the Old Town and the fortress wall in a new light.
Outstanding universal value
Due to its exceptionally strategic position, the Fortress of Luxembourg was one of the most coveted strongholds in Europe from the 16th century to 1867, when its fortifications were dismantled. It was reinforced and extended many times as it passed from the hands of one great European power to the next (the Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire, the House of Burgundy, the Habsburgs, the Kings of Spain and France, and the Prussians), and remains a strong example of a historic, fortified European city with an exceptional variety of military architecture illustrating a long period of Western history.
- Criteria: (iv) to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;
- Listed property: 29.94 hectares
- Buffer zone: 108.73 hectares
The total area of the World Heritage Site is 138.13 ha, which is 2.7% of Luxembourg City. This area is divided into a central zone and a buffer zone. The central zone is highly protected: it is surrounded by the buffer zone, the use and development of which are regulated in such a way as to give an added layer of protection to the heritage site.
The "UNESCO Trail" is a great way to discover the scenic beauty of the ancient fortress and the charm of the capital's Old Town.
Starting at Place de la Constitution, this trail takes you directly past the city's old fortifications in the Pétrusse Valley, along a garden that harks back to the city's past as a major rose exporter. It continues along the Corniche, passing by the ramparts before crossing into the Old Town.
The UNESCO Trail is ideal for wheelchairs and pushchairs. Visitors may choose to take a tour given by an LCTO guide or download the audio app available on the izi.travel website (in French, German, Luxembourgish, English, Portuguese and Dutch).
The trail "UNESCO-Tour für Alle - Leichte Sprache" follows the same route, with easy-read information in German and short videos in German sign language.
The UNESCO bike tours are a great way to discover the UNESCO heritage site and its most popular attractions in just under an hour and a half. The programme is divided into two parts: a 2.5-kilometre tour on foot, and a 9.5-kilometre tour by bike.
Project partners: The Luxembourg Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, the Luxembourg City Tourist Office, the Alstad Committee, the Pfaffenthal-Siechenhof Syndicat d'intérêts locaux, the Stadtgrund Syndicat d'intérêts locaux, Amis du château de Clausen, Frën vun der Festungsgeschicht, Patrimoine Roses pour le Luxembourg, Geschichtsfrënn St Quirinus.
Document drawn up together with the Centre pour le développement des compétences relatives à la vue (Centre for the Development of Sight-related Skills – CDV).
Walking and guided tours
The Luxembourg City Tourist Office (LCTO) offers a number of walking and guided tours.
UNESCO Visitor Center
L’UNESCO Visitor Center informe sur les missions de l’UNESCO, les origines et l’importance des sites du patrimoine mondial, les caractéristiques du site luxembourgeois et les mesures de préservation et d’intégration au développement urbain. L’entrée est gratuite.
These colouring pages are a fun way for children to discover the historic buildings and landmarks of our fair city. They were designed by architects Isabelle Van Driessche, Arnaud de Meyer and André Haagen. The various colours represent different chapters in Luxembourg City's history, teaching children about the city's past through a fun and entertaining activity. Before you know it, they'll be experts on the City's Old Town and fortifications.
World Heritage Cities
Organisation of World Heritage Cities
Luca Luxembourg Centre for Architecture – Foundation for Architecture
Order of Architects and Consulting Engineers (OAI)
The third edition of the guide to contemporary architecture lays outfour tours for exploring the architecture, urban engineering and characteristic features of Luxembourg City.