Namur or Namen

The Citadel of Namur served as a strategic bastion, attracting wave upon wave of attacks and experiencing an equally determined series of reconstructions and reinforcements. The most famous of these contests occurred in the late 17th century, during the War of the Grand Alliance. In 1692, the renowned fortress architect and siege engineer Vauban took Namur for the French while Louis XIV himself looked on. Vauban strengthened Namur so well that it was thought impregnable, but only three years later it was taken in less than a month by the forces of William of Orange.

Today the citadel is accessible by a winding road or by cable-car, offering visitors a good view of the peaceful town below and the rivers Sambre and Meuse. Although the citadel is a dominating presence in Namur, the town itself holds great appeal. Its quiet streets are graced with a number of fine 18th century mansions and several beautiful churches.

Namur is also a rich repository of Mosan artwork, most notably the Treasury of the Priory of Oignies. Among the treasury’s fine objects are many pieces manufactured in the early 13th century by Brother Hugo of Oignies, one of the greatest goldsmiths of the middle ages. Brother Hugo’s work includes a reliquary for a rib of Saint Peter, two astonishing double crosses, chalices, phylacteries, and an evangelical cover.

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