The original Longwy village developed on a widened plateau and was eventually linked to the Chiers valley, divided into two towns: Longwy-Haut (the Old Longwy) and Longwy-Bas (in the valley of the river). In the 15th century, the castle of Longwy was one of the most important in the region. It was partially destroyed in 1646 during the Thirty Years War, during which Longwy became French. The town and the castle all disappeared in 1672, razed to the ground by the French.
In 1678, after the combat in the war of Holland came to an end, Louis XIV decided to reinforce the border area to the north of Lorraine. The engineer Thomas de Choisy, a colleague of Vauban, was sent on site. Near to the fortress of Luxembourg, held by the Spanish, the Longwy site was deemed ideal by Choisy for the construction of a fortress. Accordingly, he occupied the extended plateau of Longwy by razing the remaining parts of the castle and the small pre-existing medieval town. A new fortified town, given the same name as the village, was constructed on the plateau.
Over the centuries that followed, the fortifications of Longwy were not significantly modified. The capture of Luxembourg between 1684 and 1698 meant it was downgraded to second line status, which prompted a slowdown in construction. Multiple buildings, including the town hall, were not completed until the 18th century. In 1731, the military bakery had a siege cistern fitted. The construction of the years 1790 and 1810-1820 was limited to repairing the damage caused by sieges of 1792 (by the Austrians) and 1814-1815 (by the victorious allies of Napoleon).
Two thirds of the protective wall, including the Porte de France, still stands. They are preserved and regularly maintained. The whole facility is today a freely accessible city park. An adventure park has also been added. The tourist office can arrange guided tours. The Governor’s residence is used as the town hall, while the Saint-Dagobert church is preserved. Its observatory lost a floor during the Prussian siege from 1870-1871. The well of 1739, the military bakery, the siege cistern as well as some barracks all survive, as the town planning map. The entire set has been included since 2008 on the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the fortifications of Vauban.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.