Valley of the Seven Castles

Mersch Castle

Mersch Castle is one of the castles belonging to the so-called Valley of the Seven Castles. The castle was built in the 13th century by Theodoric, a knight in the service of Countess Ermesinde of Luxembourg. It was captured and burnt down by the Burgundians. In 1574, Paul von der Veltz transformed the building into a comfortable castle in the Renaissance style. The keep had large windows and the property was surrounded by ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Mersch, Luxembourg

Hollenfels Castle

Hollenfels Castle, with a history dating back to the 11th century, is one of the castles located close to the River Eisch in the so-called Valley of the Seven Castles in central Luxembourg. Located at the southern end of the village of Hollenfels, the castle stands high above the River Eisch. A path with steep steps and wooden bridges leads to the foot of the castle where hollows in the rock can be seen, explaining the or ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Hollenfels, Luxembourg

Schoenfels Castle

The hamlet of Schoenfels is first mentioned by the name of Scindalasheim in a deed of 846 as a gift by Bishop Hetto of Trier to Abbot Marcuardus of Prüm. By 1150 a document from the Abbey of Echternach refers to it as Schonefels. There follow frequent name changes over the next centuries: Schindelzein (1156), Schindelce (13th century), Scindelce (1239), Schindeltz (1434), Schindefeltz (1498), Schindviltz (1503), Sch ...
Founded: 1292 | Location: Schoenfels, Luxembourg

Septfontaines Castle

Septfontaines Castle is one of the castles belonging to the Valley of the Seven Castles. It is not clear when the first castle was built in Septfontaines. In 1192, there is a reference to someone by the name of Tider who was Lord of Septfontaines. In 1233, Jean de Septfontaines placed the property under the protection of Countess Ermesinde of Luxembourg. At the beginning of the 14th century, Thomas de Septfontaines, a fri ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Septfontaines, Luxembourg

Ansembourg New Castle

The New Castle of Ansembourg is one of the castles belonging to the Valley of the Seven Castles. In 1639, industrialist Thomas Bidart built the central part of today's castle as a comfortable house surrounded by walls and towers, two of which still stand. Originally from Li├Ęge in Belgium, Bidart, who was a pioneer of Luxembourg's iron and steel industry, named the building Maison des Forges (House of the Ironworks). Duri ...
Founded: 1639 | Location: Ansembourg, Luxembourg

Ansembourg Old Castle

Ansembourg Old Castle is one of the castles belonging to the Valley of the Seven Castles. Located high above the little village of Ansembourg, the medieval castle is the private residence of the current Count and Countess of Ansembourg. The property is first mentioned in 1135 when the lord of the castle was Hubert d'Ansembourg. The fortifications were probably built in the middle of the 12th century. At the beginning of ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ansembourg, Luxembourg

Koerich Castle Ruins

Koerich Castle ruins is one of the castles in the so-called Valley of the Seven Castles. Standing on level ground in the valley of the stream of Goeblange, the castle's impressive keep and external walls blend harmoniously with the Baroque church and the old houses in the centre of the village. The Grevenschlass, now known as Koerich Castle, was built by Wirich I, Lord of Koerich and Seneschal of Luxembourg at the end of ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Koerich, Luxembourg

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Barnenez Cairn

The Cairn of Barnenez is the largest Megalithic mausoleum in Europe. It dates from the early Neolithic Age is considered one of the earliest megalithic monuments in Europe. It is also remarkable for the presence of megalithic art. Radiocarbon dates indicate that the first phase of the monument was erected between 4850 and 4250 BC, and the second phase between 4450 and 4000 BC. Pottery found in and around the monument indicates that it underwent a period of reuse in the Bronze Age, in the 3rd millennium BC.

The cairn was first mapped in 1807, in the context of the Napoleonic cadaster. Its first scientific recognition took place in the context of an academic congress in Morlaix in 1850, when it was classified as a tumulus. Privately owned until the 1950s, the cairn was used as a quarry for paving stones. This activity, which threatened to destroy the monument, was only halted after the discovery of several of its chambers in the 1950s. The local community then took control of the site. The cairn was restored between 1954 and 1968. At the same time, vegetation was removed from the mound and systematic excavation took place in and around the monument.

Today, the Barnenez cairn is 72 m long, up to 25 m wide and over 8 m high. It is built of 13,000 to 14,000 tons of stone. It contains 11 chambers entered by separate passages. The mound has steep facades and a stepped profile. Several internal walls either represent earlier facades or served the stability of the structure. The cairn consists of relatively small blocks of stone, with only the chambers being truly megalithic in character. The monument overlooks the Bay of Morlaix, probably a fertile coastal plain at the time of its erection.

Engraved symbols occur in several of the chambers and passages. They depict bows, axes, wave symbols or snakes and a repeated U-shaped sign. One of the carved slabs is in secondary use was originally part of a different structure, an interesting parallel to the situation in several other such monuments, including Gavrinis. The symbols on the engraved blocks resemble those found in other megalithic monuments in Brittany; in broader terms they belong to the cultural phenomenon described as megalithic art. One of the recurring symbols is sometimes interpreted as an anthropomorphic depiction (the so-called \'Dolmen Goddess\').

An exhibition in the modern entrance building explains the results of scientific excavation and displays some objects from the site.