Luxembourg City is a place of striking contrasts, from its old fortifications to classic 18th- and 19th-century buildings and modern architectural gems. Its old quarters and fortifications were added to the UNESCO World Heritage list on 17 December 1994.
UNESCO promotes the identification, protection and conservation of cultural and natural heritage sites all over the world that are deemed to be of outstanding value for humanity.
To celebrate this, the City of Luxembourg and the National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO have produced a video, showing the Old Town and the fortress walls in a new light.
Outstanding universal value
Due to its strategic position, Luxembourg was one of the most important fortified sites in Europe from the 16th century until 1867, when its walls were dismantled. It was reinforced many times as it passed from one great European power to the next: the Emperors of the Holy Royal Empire, the House of Burgundy, the Habsburgs, the Kings of Spain and France, and lastly the Prussians. Its fortifications offer a snapshot of military architecture over several centuries.
- Criteria: (iv) to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history
- Listed property: 29.94 hectares
- Buffer zone: 108.73 hectares
The total area of the UNESCO protected site is 138.13 ha, which is 2.7% of the city. This area is subdivided into a central zone and a buffer zone. The central zone benefits from a high level of protection and is surrounded by the buffer zone, which must be used and developed in a way that provides additional protection to the heritage site.
The UNESCO Promenade is a great way to discover the scenic beauty of the ancient fortress and the charm of the capital's Old Town.
Starting from Place de la Constitution, the trail goes along the mid-point of the fortifications through Pétrusse Park and a garden celebrating the capital’s rose-breeding history. It continues along the Corniche, across the ramparts and then through the Old Town.
The UNESCO Tour For All is a great option for wheelchairs and pushchairs which winds through the Upper Town. Visitors can choose to complete it with an LCTO guide or using the audio guide available on izi.travel (in English, French, German, Luxembourgish, Portuguese and Dutch).
The "UNESCO-Tour für Alle – Leichte Sprache" trail follows the same route, with commentary in simple German and with short videos in sign language.
The UNESCO bike tour is a great way to discover the highlights of the UNESCO heritage site in an hour and a half. The tour is in two parts: a 2.5 km walk and a 9.5 km bike trail.
Project partners: the Luxembourg Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, the Luxembourg City Tourist Office, the Alstad Committee, the Syndicat des Intérêts Locaux Pfaffenthal-Siechenhof, the Syndicat des Intérêts Locaux du Stadtgrund, Amis du château de Clausen, Frën vun der Festungsgeschicht, Patrimoine Roses pour le Luxembourg, Geschichtsfrënn St Quirinus.
Document produced in cooperation with the centre for the development of sight-related skills (Centre pour le développement des compétences relatives à la vue).
Walking and guided tours
The Luxembourg City Tourist Office (LCTO) offers a number of walking and guided tours.
Shoah Memorial Trail
The Shoah Memorial Trail offers an insight into how Jewish life in Luxembourg was wiped out by Nazi Germany. This free two-hour tour with audio-guide explores eight well-known and less well-known sites that played a key role in the Holocaust in Luxembourg.
With this initiative, MemoShoah Luxembourg’s aim is to contribute on a long-term basis to knowledge of the Holocaust in Luxembourg. For this project, the organisation was supported by the LCTO, the Neimënster Cultural Centre and the Consistoire Israélite du Luxembourg.
UNESCO Visitor Centre
The UNESCO Visitor Centre provides information about UNESCO’s goals, the origins and importance of the World Heritage Sites, details on the Luxembourg site, the conservation measures and urban development integration measures. It is free to visit.
To help children learn about the capital’s historic urban landscape, you can download the colouring pages below which were designed by the architects Isabelle Van Driessche, Arnaud de Meyer and André Haagen. The various colours represent different chapters in Luxembourg City's history, teaching children about the city's past through a fun and entertaining activity. Before you know it, they'll be experts on the Old Town and fortifications.
World Heritage Cities
Organisation of World Heritage Cities
LUCA: Luxembourg Center for Architecture – Architecture Foundation
Order of Architects and Consulting Engineers (OAI)
The third edition of the guide to contemporary architecture has four tours to explore the city’s architecture, engineering and urban design.