Idea #696 – Exploring the underground Bock in Luxembourg
Intimately linked to the cradle of the city of Luxembourg, the huge underground system of military defense casemates is much later than the foundation of the first castle, erected in the tenth century by Count Sigefroi. The first casemates are built in 1644, under the domination of the Spaniards. The extension of underground galleries, 23 km long, took place 40 years later, under French domination with Vauban, and in the eighteenth century under that of the Austrians. The defense system was multi-storey with galleries dug up to 40 m deep. Because of these impressive bastions, the city of Luxembourg was aptly named the “Gibraltar of the North”. In 1867, the fortress was evacuated and had to be dismantled following the neutralization of Luxembourg. The dismantling lasted 16 years and the casemates were reduced to 17 km. Given their underground location in the city, it was indeed impossible to destroy them without damaging a large part of the city! More than 1,300 plans relating to this huge defensive network have been found in the archives. The casemates could house not only thousands of defenders, their equipment and horses, but also artillery and weapons workshops, kitchens, bakeries, slaughterhouses and other infrastructure. During the two world wars, they served as a shelter and could protect 35,000 people in case of alarm or bombing.
Where is it?
Casemates du Bock, Luxembourg