These pages show you images of a three day stay in Luxembourg in May 2010. Images include Vianden Castle, Esch-sur-Sūre and Chateau d'Ansembourg.
Perched on top of a large rock in the valley of the Our river, in the town of Vianden is Vianden Castle, also known as Oranienburg.
The original castle was built between the 11th and 14th century on top of an earlier Roman fortification and a Carolinean refuge.
The castle can be entered through five gates, the first one having a draw bridge.
A wooden sign warns present day visitors to behave well whilst in the castle.
We enter the castle through the Arms Hall, a hall vaulted in gothic style at the end of the 15th century.
The Arms Hall is supplemented by a selection of medieval suits of armour, halberds and pikes.
The suits of armour seem to guard doorways and they look as if can lower their lances at any time to ask us who we are and where we go.
Next to the Arms Hall is the Knights Study. This room contains newer weapons like this pistol but also coats of mail from the beginning of the 14th century.
The rings of the coat of mail were forged hot, a very ancient technique in the manufacture of coats of mail, offering a reasonably good protection to those days weaponry.
From the Arms Hall a staircase leads to a cobblestoned courtyard giving access to the Byzantine Gallery.
The Byzantine Gallery is a large covered area of more than 200 m2. It has six trefoiled windows facing the valley side.
Down in the valley the Our river flows quietly through the town of Vianden.
The Chapel of the castle has two separate floor levels.
The lower floor was meant for the commoners of the town and the servants.
They could follow the ceremonies through a hexagonal opening.
The upper floor, meant for the count and his family, was the first church of Vianden.
Mass held in the chapel in 1248 led to a conflict between the Templars and the counts of Vianden leading to the excommunication of count Henri I.
The Chapel is dedicated to St. Anthony.
In 1667 the roofing of the chapel was heavily damaged as a result of a fire caused by lightning.
Today it has been beautifully restorated.
One of the windows in the Chapel carries the Coat of arms of the House Nassau-Vianden.
The Banqueting Hall is a small hall with an open fireplace.
It dates from 1450 and has been furnished with matching historical furniture.
The Festivity Hall is a magnificent hall decorated with beautiful tapestries from Flemish origin.
Another fine example of Flemish tapestry.
The Grand Kitchen.
The Well was carved in the rock to a depth of 53 meters.
The well provided the castle with fresh water.
It has been emptied several times for archaeological research.
The top floor of the castle has a nice exhibition of old pictures of the castle and some beautifully made scale models of the castle during several stages of its history.
We spent a couple of hours in this well restored castle.
Walking back to the town centre we look back to the castle on the rock.
A cobble stoned street in the upper town of Vianden, a small town in north-eastern Luxembourg, right on the border of Germany.
The Our river separates the upper and lower parts of the town of Vianden.
The origins of Vianden date back to the Roman age with a first historic reference in 698.
Later it became the seat of the counts of Vianden who ruled from the castle high on the rock.
The next day we visit Esch-sur-Sūre, a tiny village in north-western Luxembourg situated on a spur of land within a sharp meander of the river Sūre.
The Black Madonna of Esch-sur-Sūre is a copy of the statue of Bernadette of Lourdes.
The 3m high statue was erected in 1910.
Esch-sur-Sūre's castle dates from the 10th century.
It has a panoramic view over the town below and the surrounding area.
Building of the castle started in 927 and it was built to provide protection to intruding Hungarian armies.
The town is entirely surrounded by the Sūre river and first after a tunnel was dug out in the rocks in 1820, Esch-sur-Sūre became accessible by road.
The chapel situated near the entrance to the courtyard of the castle.
The castle's strategic position on top of the rock made it possible to see approaching enemy armies from a large distance.
Nowadays Esch-sur-Sūre is still a tiny town with only a few hundred inhabitants.
Immediately above the town, the Sūre has been dammed to meet the country's drinking water needs.
The reservoir created by the dam extends some 10km up the valley.
The church of Septfontaines with its 11th century castle in the background.
The Sūre river forms part of the border between Luxembourg and Germany and gently flows between the two neighbouring countries.
Another interesting castle in Luxembourg is Chateau d'Ansembourg built by 17th century Thomas Bidart.
Thomas also owned the older (12th century) Ansembourg castle but found the living conditions too cramped there.
The castle itself is not open to the public but the beautiful gardens are.
The gardens are named for Count Lambert-Joseph de Marchant et d'Ansembourg.
The gardens contain a labyrinth, trees, fountains and many marble statues, like this flute-playing boy.
The statues form a lane that stretches across the entire width of the gardens.
Close-up of one of the garden's fountains.
The other part of the impressive collection of marble statues leading towards the castle.
The garden side of the chateau contains four life-size statues in sitting positions.
Back to the labyrinth with carefully manicured hedges.
And with a last look at the flute-playing statue we leave the gardens again.