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 Kalozha church of Saints Boris and Gleb is the oldest extant structure in Hrodna. It is the only surviving monument of ancient Black Ruthenian architecture, distinguished from other Orthodox churches by prolific use of polychrome faceted stones of blue, green or red tint which could be arranged to form crosses or other figures on the wall.
The church is a cross-domed building supported by six circular pillars. The outside is articulated with projecting pilasters, which have rounded corners, as does the building itself. The ante-nave contains the choir loft, accessed by a narrow gradatory in the western wall. Two other stairs were discovered in the walls of the side apses; their purpose is not clear. The floor is lined with ceramic tiles forming decorative patterns. The interior was lined with innumerable built-in pitchers, which usually serve in Eastern Orthodox churches as resonators but in this case were scored to produce decorative effects. For this reason, the central nave has never been painted.
The church was built before 1183 and survived intact, depicted in the 1840s by Michał Kulesza, until 1853, when the south wall collapsed, due to its perilous location on the high bank of the Neman. During restoration works, some fragments of 12th-century frescoes were discovered in the apses. Remains of four other churches in the same style, decorated with pitchers and coloured stones instead of frescoes, were discovered in Hrodna and Vaŭkavysk. They all date back to the turn of the 13th century, as do remains of the first stone palace in the Old Hrodna Castle.
In 2004, the church was included in the Tentative List of UNESCO"s World Heritage Sites.