At dusk, walking on the quiet streets of Luxembourg, a row of typical European-style buildings suddenly appeared a different person – it adopts the common arcade form in rainy areas such as Southeast Asia, Guangdong and Fujian, and the columns supporting the arcade are erected in the middle of the sidewalk. . The three characters “Cuiheng Village” on the wrought iron signboard on the outer wall of the arcade instantly caught my attention.
As a native of Zhongshan, Guangdong, I feel very cordial to see “Cuiheng Village”, which is the hometown of Sun Yat-sen. I thought it was a foreign country meeting a fellow countryman, but when I walked into this restaurant and asked, the owner is not an overseas Chinese, and I don’t know what “Cuiheng Village” means.
This beautiful misunderstanding did not dampen my interest. After walking out of the “Cuiheng Village” and walking along the street, I walked to the Petros Grand Canyon again and walked around into a residential area. The house is built on the slope, and there are few people on the street. Occasionally, you can see the housewife busy in the kitchen or the family members sitting around the dining table in the windows. As a tourist, although I can only look through the window, I can feel it with my heart. It does not have the architectural beauty and hustle and bustle of the old city, but it is the place where the city brings me the most graceful feeling.
Not only is Luxembourg City beautiful, it is also home to the European Court of Justice, the European Court of Auditors and the European Investment Bank, and is known as the “third capital” of the European Union outside Brussels and Strasbourg. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, with it as its capital, ranks at the forefront of the world’s per capita GDP rankings all year round.
In elementary school, he loved to read geography books, reciting the names of countries and capitals. It is very interesting to meet those countries with the same name as the capital, such as the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Luxembourg City.
This is considered to be a “friendship” with Luxembourg, and the first meeting with it will be delayed by more than 20 years. The Petros Grand Canyon, which runs from east to west, is 60 meters deep and over 100 meters wide, separates the old and new urban areas of Luxembourg. From the new urban area to the old urban area, you will pass through some office blocks, most of which are only four or five floors, and look unremarkable. But if you understand Luxembourg’s economy, you will know that there are many headquarters and branches of large companies hidden in it – the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, with a land area of only more than 2,500 square kilometers and a population of only more than 500,000, is the world’s largest exporter of steel smelting technology. It is also the most important private banking center in the euro zone and the second largest investment trust center in the world.
Of course, business is not everything in Luxembourg City, and when you reach the Petros Grand Canyon, you are full of fairy tales. On the opposite side of the canyon is the rolling hillside. Between the large forests and the grass, there are scattered houses with sloping roofs of gray tiles. The tree-lined paths connect the grass and buildings, and children play on the grass. Although it is the capital of a country, it has rural scenery.
The Plaza de la Syntagma behind me is the political center of Luxembourg and the historical witness of the country. A horizontal red, white and blue tricolor flag flutters on the square. Red symbolizes enthusiasm and bravery, white symbolizes simplicity and peace, and blue represents light and happiness.
The most eye-catching thing on the Constitution Square is the Monument to the Heroes, which was completed in 1923. It was originally to commemorate the 3,000 Luxembourg soldiers who died in World War I. It was destroyed and rebuilt in World War II. The main body of the monument is an obelisk made of granite, with a pair of bronze statues of a man and a woman on the base. The bronze statue of the Goddess of Victory at the top is golden and very dazzling in the sun. The gilded statue had an ill-fated fate. It was taken down and discarded by the Nazis during World War II, and was never found when the monument was rebuilt after the war. It wasn’t found under the stands of a football field until 1980, and it was remounted at the top of the monument in 1984.
Standing on the Constitution Square, you can see the steps of the Petros Grand Canyon going around, until it is hidden in the depths of the jungle. Layers of irregular platforms are built along the stairs, the highest of which has a huge flagpole standing among the neatly decorated flowerbeds. Below it there is another triangular platform, on the side of the road, with stone steps on both sides. Climbing tigers are covered with stone walls, green plants cover the outer edge of the platform, triangular flower beds are neatly trimmed, red and white flowers are interlaced, and a pair of young people are sitting on the cliff and chatting.
Back then, such platforms were part of the fortifications. Luxembourg takes the name of “Fort” and has a history of building forts for more than a thousand years. It is located between France and Germany, the terrain is dangerous, the cliffs can be regarded as a natural barrier, and it is a very important military fortress in Western Europe. In 963 AD, Count Siegfried built a bunker here, and the bunker was gradually expanded over the centuries. Even so, it still did not resist the aggressive ambitions of the Duchy of Burgundy and fell in 1443. Since then, Luxembourg has changed its flag several times and has been ruled by different countries for four centuries. In 1644, the Spaniards built the Polk fortress here. In 1684, the French expanded it. In the mid-18th century, the Austrians rebuilt and expanded it again.
In its heyday, Polk Fortress had three walls and dozens of forts. The most amazing thing was the tunnels and dark fortresses dug in the hard rock below the castle, with a total length of 23 kilometers, which could not only accommodate thousands of soldiers, but also various Workshops, bakeries, slaughterhouses, etc., are like an underground labyrinth, and Polk Fortress is also called “Gibraltar of the North”.
In 1867, Luxembourg established the status of neutrality and proceeded to dismantle the fortress. But because the whole city is built on a fortress, in order to avoid damaging the urban structure, the Luxembourg government chose to demolish only part of the castle and keep the stone walls and platforms, just like the triangular platform in front of me. The bottom of the valley is not deserted, and the leisure trails link woods, grasslands and historical sites, becoming the back garden of Luxembourgers.
In 1994, UNESCO listed the Polk Fortress as a World Heritage Site. Among them, the best preserved is the underground passage. Of the original 23 kilometers, 17 kilometers are still well preserved and can be visited.
Looking over the Grand Canyon, in the distance is the Adolphe Bridge overhanging the valley, which is also an important landmark in Luxembourg. The Alzette River runs through the city, and the valley divides the city into two parts, connected by a full 110 bridges of various kinds.
The Adolf Bridge, built from 1900 to 1903, was once known as one of the most outstanding buildings in Europe. It was built by Adolf, the first Grand Duke of Luxembourg after independence, and had the largest stone arch in the world at that time. Unfortunately, when I visited, the bridge was under renovation and was blocked by a huge curtain. There is a magnificent castle-like building on one side of the bridge. The main body is blocked by dense woods. Only the gray tile sloping roof and the spires can be seen. The largest cylindrical tower stands tall, and the green spire occupies the skyline. I thought it was a castle or a monastery, but when I walked over, I found out that it was the location of the National Savings Bank. This is the most classical bank building I have ever seen.
Starting from the Constitution Square, through the commercial street, you can reach the most lively place in Luxembourg – the Military Square. It is named so because it was once the camp for the guards and the place for the parade. Today, it no longer has any military flavor, but the city’s “entertainment hall”. The square is surrounded by restaurants and cafes, and the outdoor seating is packed. There is a rather imposing building on one side of the square. There are three thin and tall arches on the front façade. In front of the corresponding three arch windows on the second floor, there is an open-air balcony that can be used as a podium.
In 1952, it used to be the seat of the court of the European Coal and Steel Community, the predecessor of the European Union. After 2006, it was converted into a convention and exhibition center. Although Luxembourg is a small country, it plays an important role in the European integration process. It pursues openness, from the European Coal and Steel Community to the European Community, to the European Union, and the Schengen Agreement, which is one of the founding countries or signatories.
There is a small stone stage on the square with a hard top to protect from the sun and rain. A group of local bands were playing. The musicians were all teenagers, mostly in shorts. They didn’t look formal, but they practiced seriously. The children were lying on the steps of the stage, looking at each and every one of them with their butts pouted.
In the square of William II, less than 100 meters away from the Constitution Square, there is a majestic statue of an equestrian in the center. It is William II, the former Grand Duke of Luxembourg. The lion with a crown at the base of the bronze statue is the city emblem of Luxembourg.
The Palace of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg and the Town Hall are both on the square. The Grand Ducal Palace was used as the Town Hall for a long time between 1572 and 1795, and the new Town Hall was completed in 1838. Both are small in size. The Grand Duke’s Palace is made of yellow stone, compatible with Spanish Moorish style and Gothic style. There are towering spires one by one, and there are patterned carvings under the windows. The balcony facing the street is equipped with exquisite wrought iron railings, which is the place where the Grand Duke of Luxembourg meets the public during celebrations.
It was getting late, and I was walking around in the old city and came to the Petros Grand Canyon again. Along the way, passing several fortress ruins and several bridges, there is a feeling of “nowhere in the depths of clouds”. The grand canyon in front of me has both humanistic and natural vision, and it is very beautiful in my eyes: a magnificent church stands beside the creek at the bottom of the valley, surrounded by dense quaint buildings standing side by side, along the street and the slope of the canyon to draw a crisscross arc , The dense forest on the hillside wraps the houses. The ochre-yellow walls of the building’s façade, the gray tiles on the sloping roof, the mottled fortresses interspersed between them, and the endless green, all staggered together to form the scenery of “the most beautiful balcony in Europe”.