Namur Citadel

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Namur Citadel
View over the Meuse to the citadel and the Walloon Parliament

View over the Meuse to the citadel and the Walloon Parliament

place Namur
architect Donato de Boni, Menno van Coehoorn , van Ingen, Evers and others
Client Count of Namur , Duke of Burgundy , Habsburg
Construction year 5th to 19th century
Coordinates 50 ° 27 '29 "  N , 4 ° 51' 31"  E Coordinates: 50 ° 27 '29 "  N , 4 ° 51' 31"  E
Monument; rebuilt several times; now a museum

The Citadel of Namur is a fortress in the city of Namur in Belgium and, with a total area of ​​over 80 hectares, is one of the largest fortifications in Europe .


The fortress is up to 190 m above sea level. M. high mountain spur above the confluence of the Meuse and Sambre .


Already in the Gallo-Roman epoch, in the 1st century a. Z., an archaeologically proven settlement existed in the area of ​​today's Namur. The city was laid out in a strategically important place for a long time.

The first fortification, a wall with a double row of palisades, was built before 890. From 925 the first Count of Namur is documented with Bérenger, but it is only from 974 that it is certain that the Counts made the place their main residence. They settled on the mountain spur above the confluence of the Meuse and Sambre rivers.

When Philip the Good took possession of the county of Namur in 1429 and integrated it into the Burgundian state, the military importance of the fortress increased.

In 1477, the Duchess Maria von Burgund (daughter of Charles the Bold and granddaughter of Philip the Good) married Maximilian von Habsburg , to the influence of the French King Louis XI. to escape. This made the area part of the Habsburg lands.

The Namur Citadel has been besieged twenty times in eight centuries. The most important sieges were as follows:

Under Napoleon I , the fortress was already viewed as useless and obsolete. It only regained importance after the Congress of Vienna in 1815 and the formation of the new Dutch state .

From 1891 the fortress was partially demilitarized by decision of King Leopold II and the area was redesigned into a large park. Only the Médiane and Terra Nova have been used by the military since then. Shortly before the First World War, the Terra Nova guardhouse served as a material store, and engineering troops were quartered in the barracks. On August 23, 1914, the fortress was shelled by German artillery. After the armistice in 1918 the Belgian army moved in again, the quarters in Terra Nova were given up in 1933 due to unhealthy conditions and the garrison was relocated to Jambes .

The area of ​​the citadel was developed by tram along the Merveilleuse route from 1910 to 1953 , initially as a funicular and from 1921 with several tunnels and tight curves that gave line 7 of the Lignes de Namur the character of a mountain railway . From 1957 to 1997 a cable car ran from the square below the facility to the Belvedere.

In 1975 the Belgian army handed over the keys to the city of Namur, and in 1977 the last paratroopers left the Médiane and Terra Nova facilities.

The Grand Hôtel de la Citadelle was built from 1893 to 1899 and burned down after being shelled in the First World War in 1914. It was renewed in 1930 and is now used to train hotel staff.

Buildings and structure

The citadel consists of three parts, called Donjon , Médiane and Terra Nova from bottom to top .

Probably in the 14th century, a second wall was built around the count's castle (Donjon) to protect the moat carved into the rock. One of the towers of the gate system, documented since 1370, is today part of the gate system of the Médiane. This tower called "dessus Bordial" is open on the inside of the castle and was provided with loopholes for artillery as early as the 15th century.

In front of the medieval fortifications, a series of fortifications (later called Médiane) were built under the Italian architect Donato de Boni from 1542 to 1559, which formed the first actual “citadel”. The term was not used for the fortress of Namur until the 17th century. In the 16th century the tower "Dessus Bordial" was surrounded by artillery positions. From 1695 to 1698, the fortress builder Menno van Coehoorn had an underground bakery built in, which is located by the medieval curtain wall. During the reconstruction of the citadel by Dutch-Belgian engineers between 1815 and 1830, the median was rebuilt, the barracks and the second surrounding wall were leveled and a new arsenal was built in their place. The staff building was built on the site of the old one. After part of the site was handed over to the city of Namur in 1891, a separating wall was built between the gate of the Médiane and the "Bridge of the Dutch". The officers' quarters that had been there since the 17th century were demolished in 1913.

Fort Terra Nova was built by Dutch engineers between 1631 and 1675. At the beginning of the 19th century, Emperor Joseph II had it demolished, but the Kingdom of the United Netherlands had the fortifications there renewed and quarters for 1,200 men established between 1820 and 1825. The soldiers' quarters received heating only in 1837. The barracks, which were initially covered with earth to protect against bombardment, were increased by one floor in 1839. The guardhouse ( corps de garde ) of Terra Nova was not built until the second half of the 19th century .

Todays use

In 1959, the amusement park for children named after Queen Fabiola was established in the upper area of ​​the citadel .

The premises of the citadel, namely Fort Terra Nova, can be rented out for events and celebrations. From March 2013 to May 2014 the guardhouse was reconstructed by Terra Nova and now houses exhibitions, administrative rooms and a restaurant. Between August 2013 and October 2014 the Médiane gate was also reconstructed.

The staff building from the 19th century is used by the archaeologists of the Public Service de Wallonie .

A new cable car is to be built from Place Maurice Servais to the Esplanade, the highest point of the citadel, and put into operation in 2018.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Bienvenue à la Citadelle . Ville de Namur. 2010. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  2. a b Histoire . Ville de Namur. 2010. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  3. a b c V. Poppe: La Caserne de Terra Nova . Ville de Namur, (Retrieved February 25, 2016).
  4. a b c d L'ancien Corps de Garde de Terra Nova . Ville de Namur, (Retrieved February 25, 2016).
  5. Wim Kusee: Lignes Electriques de Namur ( fr ) Archived from the original on March 5, 2016.
  6. Oude buurtspoorwegen op de citadelle de Namur ( nl ) Archived from the original on March 5, 2016.
  7. Namur: Le Téléphérique . Mamuroises au fil du temps. February 3, 2013. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  8. ^ Carole Depasse: Le Château de Namur . WAW Magazine. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  9. a b c d P. Moers-Balloïde: La Porte de Médiane . Ville de Namur, (Retrieved February 25, 2016).
  10. ^ Parc attractif Reine Fabiola . Ville de Namur. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  11. Terra Nova et ses salles à louer . Ville de Namur. 2010. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  12. François Louis: Un téléphérique reliera le vieux Namur à la Citadelle ( fr ) RTBF. February 11, 2015. Accessed March 3, 2016.