Notre-Dame Cathedral is the only cathedral in Luxembourg. The church is a noteworthy example of late gothic architecture; however, it also has many Renaissance elements and adornments. At the end of the 18th century, the church received the miraculous image of the Maria Consolatrix Afflictorum, the patron saint of both the city and the nation.
Jesuits from Belgium, which like Luxembourg belonged to the Spanish Netherlands at the time, opened a college in Luxembourg city in 1603, where the majority of young Luxembourgers were taught until 1773. The first stone of the church was laid on 7 May 1613, under Father François Aldenard. The constructor of the building was Ulrich Job, from Lucerne. The Jesuit church was consecrated and dedicated to the Immaculate Conception in 1621 by auxiliary bishop Georg von Helfenstein. German sculptor Daniel Muller (d. 1623) from Freiberg (Saxony) contributed to the appearance of the church including the organ tribune. The decorations in alabaster, a favourite material of Dutch Renaissance sculptors, represent early Baroque angels, who play music between leaves and floral decorations.
After the Jesuits had left the city in 1773, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria gifted the church to the City of Luxembourg in 1778, and it became the new parish church.
The cathedral received the name 'Notre-Dame' in 1848 under the apostolic vicar Jean-Théodore Laurent. His successor, Nicolas Adames, had the Baroque interior refurbished from 1854 in a neo-Gothic style. When Luxembourg was elevated to a bishopric by Pope Pius IX on 27 June 1870, the Notre-Dame Churche became Notre-Dame Cathedral. Around 50 years later, the church was consecrated as the Church of Our Lady and in 1870, it was elevated by Pope Pius IX to the Cathedral of Notre-Dame.
At the cemetery of the cathedral is the National Monument to the Resistance and to the Deportation. The centerpiece of the monument is the famous bronze monument by the 20th century Luxembourgish sculptor Lucien Wercollier called The Political Prisoner.References:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.