Luxembourg in the Cultural Heritage Unesco list
Some elements of Luxembourgish heritage have been officially recognised as worth preserving and witnessing. Let’s take a closer look to these three cultural curiosities that UNESCO is proposing in its list.
The medieval fortress in the Old city
Luxembourg is a country of around 5 hundred inhabitants and it’s divided in communes. The biggest of them and its capital, Luxembourg City, has a dual architectural landscape. One the one hand, it’s a contemporary capital, filled with examples of modern and post modern architecture, on the other hand it is still, successfully preserving its medieval quality.
The Old City, which is also in a different level of the new one –we could say that it’s “under” the new one in a way- was built on the 16th century and is an impressive example of defence architecture. It was Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, fortress builder under Louis XIV, who turned Luxembourg into a fortress known at its time as the Gibraltar of the North. After being one of the most dependable fortification structures in Europe, most of its massive walls had to be demolished on 1867 under the terms of the treaty of London.
A big part of the Casemates –secret passages underneath the fortress-, the old solid walls and its arcs are situated in a naturally fortified part, the Bock, can be still visited and still deserve to be called “awesome”; its greatness and strength permeates the sense of time and place and strikes the contemporary visitor.
The photographic exhibition “Family of Man”
Edward Steichen was a well-known American photographer of Luxembourgish origins who lived and worked in the States. When working as the Director of Photography at the New York Museum of Modern Art - MOMA, he curated the photographic exposition called “Family of Man”. The exposition was greatly praised and travelled in numerous countries; it consists of more than 500 photographs representing life, love and death.
According to Steichen’s wish, the exhibition was donated to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg; it can be visited at Clervaux Palace, in the north of the country.
The dancing procession of Echternach
The interesting tradition that dates back to the middle ages can be seen during Pentecost in Echternach, in the North of the country. The dancing procession is one of a kind, the only such event that still defies time; it used to actually be a true pilgrimage in its original state, but lately it’s mostly a folkloric gathering. A number of people, staying close to each other by holding not hands, but the edges of their handkerchiefs, are going two steps left, then two right for almost three hours, until they arrive to the crypt where Saint Willibrord is buried.