Brief Facts About Luxembourg

Luxembourg, officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, is a landlocked country in western Europe. It is one of the most civilized countries in the world.

#1. Some of Charlemagne’s most important battles occurred in Luxembourg’s Ardennes forest. The Song of Roland describes a nightmare set in the Ardennes the emperor had on the eve of the Battle of Roncevaux Pass in 778.

#2. The first towered fortification, the Bock, built in what would eventually become Luxembourg City was constructed on the rocky cliffs above the River Alzette and offered a natural fortification. Built in 963 by the Count Siegfried it was a castle as well. Over the ensuing centuries it has been attacked, rebuilt and reinforced multiple times as the armies of the Habsburgs, Spain, Burgundy, France, and Prussia all vied for control of one of the most strategic strongholds in Europe. It is known as Bockfiels in Luxembourgish.

#3. From 1310 to 1437 the House of Luxembourg (its Counts, who were later Dukes), were also Kings of Bohemia (what is now the modern Czech Republic). Three of its members were also elected Holy Roman Emperor: Henry VII, Charles IV, and Sigismund. Sigismund was also king of Hungary from 1387.

#4. The daughter of Sigismund, Elizabeth of Luxembourg, wed Habsburg’s Albert II, who succeeded Sigismund as not only Holy Roman Emperor but King of Hungary and Bohemia as well. From then until the 1806 dissolution of the Empire, the Habsburgs provided all the Holy Roman Emperors. The foundation of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, therefore, was achieved through the marriage of Albert II to Elisabeth of the House of Luxembourg in 1422. They also ruled as Dukes of Luxemburg for 307 years.

#5. Thanks to the defenses of the Bock, Luxembourg City held out against a 1794 seven month siege by the French during that country’s Revolutionary Wars. Its walls were still unbreached when the garrison finally did surrender. That led the French to respectfully call it “the Gibraltar of the North”.

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