Life

Vianden: Hugo’s favorite castle town

  Driving in the small country of Luxembourg is a very different feeling from the neighboring Netherlands. The latter is always flat as far as the eye can see, while the mountainous Luxembourg offers more varied driving pleasures.
  Going to Luxembourg’s Vianden Castle, we experienced different landforms. First, there is a straight but gradually upward road, with endless wheat fields, dense forests, and scattered villages under the blue sky and white clouds, which is a typical Western European rural landscape. When the navigation showed that there were still more than ten kilometers away from the destination, he entered the Panshan Highway. This is a very narrow winding mountain road, with many curves and short straight roads, and there is no sunlight throughout the whole process. The dense forest above the head completely covers the sky. It wasn’t until a turn, that Vianden Castle suddenly appeared in front of us, that it suddenly became clear.
  Vianden is a town in the Ur Valley, near the German border, with a population of less than two thousand. Hugo has lived here many times, adding a literary atmosphere to the small town. The most eye-catching thing in the small town is the castle. No matter where you stand in the small town, you can see the castle standing high when you look up. Gray tiles on the sloping roof, towering towers, standing on the cliffs, the terrain is dangerous, and it was easy to defend and difficult to attack back then.
  The history of this small city can be traced back to the Gallo-Roman era, when a fortress was built on the top of the hill. The castle seen so far was built between the 11th and 14th centuries AD. It first belonged to the Earl of Fianden family. After 1264, it was transferred to the Earl of Luxembourg. In 1417, it was transferred to the Nassau family, which later became the Dutch royal family. However, after the Nassau family became the royal family of the Netherlands, they focused on developing westward and no longer used this place as a residence. In 1530, it was inherited by the French Duchy of Orange.
  In the 18th century, the castle was severely damaged by fires and earthquakes. In 1820 the castle was sold to a local spice merchant. After the businessman got the castle, he sold the internal facilities and bricks and stones sporadically, and the castle became ruins. In 1827, the then Earl of Vianden bought back the ruins of the castle and planned to restore it, but in 1830, the outbreak of the Belgian Revolution put the matter on hold. In 1851, Prince Henry of the Netherlands rebuilt the castle chapel at his own expense. In 1890, Adolphe of Nassau-Wilburg became Grand Duke of Luxembourg. After that, the castle of Vianden was also restored, but this restoration was interrupted by the First World War. It was not until 1977, when Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg ceded the castle to the country, and the large-scale restoration project was restarted, that the castle was restored and became what we see today.
  The small town of Vianden today is actually half surrounded by the outer walls of the old castle. After parking the car, you can walk along the slope until you reach the castle. What’s interesting is that when you see the castle at a high place while driving, you can park your car and walk there for a few minutes. The rare momentum is not directly proportional to the distance.
  The castle has been restored to its original layout and appearance as much as possible, and the interior is like a maze, going round and round. What is more interesting is the kitchen in the castle, where all kinds of pots and pans are dazzling, and there are special iron racks for hanging pots.
  Looking down from a height, the small town of Fiandeng is exquisite and gratifying. In particular, a house that is slightly away from the distance is built along the hillside, with a winding stone step extending to the road. Because the overall shape is trapezoidal, the internal layout must be interesting, and there is no independent garden. Anyway, the grassland on the entire hillside is its own paradise.
  Luxembourg, whose per capita GDP ranks first in the world, has always been known for its wealth, and the residents of Vianden are no exception. Every household is an exquisite villa with a beautiful garden. This small town surrounded by valleys and dense forests does look like a paradise.
  Hugo’s former residence is at the bridgehead of the small town, and now it has become a museum. Back then, Hugo was sitting in the room near the Ur River, looking at the ruins of Fianden Castle on the top of the mountain every day.
  Today’s old house has been completely refurbished. As early as 1935, on the fiftieth anniversary of Hugo’s death, it was turned into a museum. Today, Hugo’s manuscripts and letters are still in the museum. According to records, Hugo visited Vianden in 1862, 1863 and 1865. In 1871, he went into exile for protesting the massacre of members of the Paris Commune by the authorities, and spent some time as a guest at Fianten. This sojourn not only lasted a long time, but also left the most marks. Museum exhibits and descriptions tell us that Hugo participated in local firefighting, fell in love with an 18-year-old girl, and had his teeth pulled for the first time in his life. For Hugo, Vianden was clearly the ideal escape.

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