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:
Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.
Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.
The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.
Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.
Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.
The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.