January 29, 2012

0110 LUXEMBOURG - A short tour of Grand Duchy

According to the census of 2011, Luxembourg has 439,539 inhabitants, as a district of a city like Shanghai, Moscow and New York City, to give three examples at random. But the country has a highly developed economy, with the world's highest GDP (nominal) per capita according to the IMF. The recorded history of Luxembourg begins in 963 with the acquisition of Lucilinburhuc (today Luxembourg Castle), around which a town gradually developed. In the 14th and early 15th centuries three members of the House of Luxembourg reigned as Holy Roman Emperors. In 1437 Duchess Elisabeth sold the territory to Philip the Good of Burgundy.

In the following centuries, Luxembourg's fortress was steadily enlarged and strengthened by its successive occupants, the Bourbons, Habsburgs, Hohenzollerns, and the French, and in 1815 the Congress of Vienna gave formal autonomy to it, as a Grand Duchy in personal union with the Netherlands, which lasted until 1890. The King of the Netherlands remained Head of State as Grand Duke of Luxembourg until the death of William III, when the Dutch throne passed to his daughter Wilhelmina, while Luxembourg (at that time restricted to male heirs by the Nassau Family Pact) passed to Adolphe of Nassau-Weilburg.

In terms of territory, over time the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has lost successively part of it, in 1659 in favor of France, in 1815 in favor of Prussia, and in 1839 for Belgium, so that today has only 2,586.4 km2, about a quarter from what had in the early 17th century. On the postcard that I received it (thank you very much, Antoinette) are 5 images of 5 different settlements (from left to right):

● The Old Saint Laurentius church from Diekirch. Classified as an historical monument, the church was erected between 1867 and 1868 on the remains of an important roman villa. Roman mosaiques found in the same location are exposed in the Municipal Museum of Roman Mosaiques. Diekirch (from Diet-Kirch, i.e. people's church) situated on the borders of the river Sûre and surrounded by pittoresque heights such as Haardt, Goldknapp, Seitert and Herrenberg is one of this small towns that satisfies the tourist which has an eye for the couleur locale (local color).

● Notre-Dame Cathedral from Luxembourg. This church, originally a Jesuit College, is a noteworthy example of late gothic architecture, with many Renaissance elements and adornments, drawn up by Brother Jean du Blocq (1583-1656) from the Monastery of Tournai. The construction works were completed in 1621, and at the end of the 18th century, it received the miraculous image of the Maria Consolatrix Afflictorum, the patron saint of both the city and the nation. The city of Luxembourg, located at the confluence of the Alzette and Pétrusse Rivers, is the capital of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Under the name City of Luxembourg: its Old Quarters and Fortifications was designated World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1993. 

● Vianden Castle. Is one of the largest fortified castles west of the Rhine. With origins dating from the 10th century, the castle was built on the site of an ancient Roman castellum and a Carolingian refuge, in the Romanesque style from the 11th to 14th centuries. 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 until 1977, when it was transferred to State ownership and was restored. Vianden lies on the Our river, near the border between Luxembourg and Germany.

● Esch-sur-Sûre. Is a small town situated by the Sûre River, just east and downstream of the artificial Upper Sûre Lake. The town's prominent castle (probably built by a certain Megingaud, somewhere around 927), and the main part of the town below, sit on a spur of a land within a sharp meander of the river.

● Remich. Is the smallest commune in Luxembourg in area, and lies on the left bank of the Moselle river, which forms part of the border between Luxembourg and Germany. Since 2008 in the village there is a restaurant with Romanian specific products, Sibiu Restaurant.

I received this postcard  from Antoinette, the third person born in the same day as me that I found, so enter into the category Received from those born on August 8.

About the stamp
The stamp belongs to the set Les Chateaux de la Vallee de l’Eisch, issued on March 16, 2010, and designed by Michel Demart. The series consists of two stamps depicting the six castles located in Eisch valley: Gréiveschlass in Koerich, the castles of Septfontaines and of Hollenfels, the old and the new castles in Ansembourg and the castle of Mersch.

Sender: Antoinette Strasser (direct swap)
Sent from Rodange (Luxembourg), on 16.01.2012

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