Namur is a city and capital of the province of the same name in Wallonia, the French speaking part of Belgium. Namur stands at the confluence of the Sambre and Meuse rivers and straddles three different regions; Hesbaye to the north, Condroz to the south-east, and Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse to the south-west.
A popular tourist destination, one of the key attractions of the city is its impressive Citadel, sat elegantly on the hill overlooking the river confluence and Namur city. Both the site and its fortifications are listed and recognised as an exceptional heritage of Wallonia and illustrate several centuries of occupation and military architecture from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. The citadel is expansive and an entire day is easily spent exploring the area and its many fascinating attractions.
Located in the ancient barracks of Terra Nova, the Visitor’s Centre not only retraces the history of the exceptional site along with that of the city it overlooks, but also presents 2000 years of European urban and military history in a dynamic and educational way. Visitors can discover and reflect on the societies of yesterday, today and tomorrow, providing the ideal background to then discover the rest of the vast site.
Opening onto 80 hectares of green spaces, the Citadel offers beautiful viewpoints over the city and the Meuse valley, whilst below ground level 7km of underground tunnels make it one of the biggest fortresses in Europe. In fact Napoleon labelled it as “Europe’s Termite Mound” due to this extensive network of underground passages. Visitors can even discover 500m of restored passages with an immersive-guided tour taking them to the heart of the history of the Citadel’s tunnels, through sound and light.
Access to the visitor centre, tunnels and touristic train can be gained by purchase of a ticket which includes all three, or you can simply stroll the above-ground areas at your own pace free of charge.
A path from the city leads to the Citadel for those happy to walk the distance, whilst thrill seekers can enjoy the recently installed cable car which takes you from the city to the very top of the Citadel to a somewhat futuristic building, certainly less physically demanding than walking although not for those with a fear of heights!
Elsewhere in the Citadel there are various interesting historical buildings to admire, such as a medieval terraced herb garden filled with beautiful plants, a lovely arboretum with a rich variety of tree species located near the Château de Namur and its delightful rose garden and an impressive esplanade and open-air theatre. All the attractions have their own story to tell, and there are several locations ideal for relaxing in between, including restaurants and terraces boasting incredible views, hotels and children’s playgrounds.
Namur Citadel is a world unto itself and invites you to wander within its ancient walls. Offering beautiful nature, fascinating history and elegant architecture, there is something for everyone making it an ideal day out.