Casemates du Bock

Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Casemates du Bock

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The Bock (Luxembourgish: Bockfiels) is a promontory in the north-eastern corner of Luxembourg City's old historical district. Offering a natural fortification, its rocky cliffs tower above the River Alzette, which surrounds it on three sides. It was here that Count Siegfried built his Castle of Lucilinburhuc in 963, providing a basis for the development of the town that became Luxembourg. Over the centuries, the Bock and the surrounding defenses were reinforced, attacked, and rebuilt time and time again as the armies of the Burgundians, Habsburgs, Spaniards, Prussians, and French vied for victory over one of Europe's most strategic strongholds, the Fortress of Luxembourg. Warring did not stop until the Treaty of London was signed in 1867, calling for the demolition of the fortifications. Ruins of the old castle and the vast underground system of passages and galleries known as the casemates continue to be a major tourist attraction.

It was in 963 that Count Siegfried, in search of a site from which he could defend his properties, obtained the Bock and its surroundings from St Maximin's Abbey in Trier in exchange for the land he owned at Feulen in the Ardennes to the north. The Romans, then the Franks, had probably already inhabited the Bock although there is only scant archeological evidence of their presence. There are however traces of a 4th-century Roman watchtower close to the point in the Fish Market where two major Roman roads used to cross, one from Reims to Trier and the other from Metz to Liège.

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