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Following lunch, we boarded a motor coach for our optional tour to the capital of Luxembourg. The scenic ride took about 45 minutes from our ship's docking location in Grevenmacher.
Because of its location and natural geography, Luxembourg City has, throughout history, been a place of strategic military significance, the first fortifications having been built as early as the 10th century.
The city center occupies a picturesque site, perched high on precipitous cliffs that drop into the narrow valleys of the Alzette and Pétrusse rivers.
A local guide acquainted us with the city, whose layout is complex as it is set on two levels, straddling hills and dropping into the two river valleys. Earlier there had been some rain, evident by the wet sidewalks and streets, but it was lovely while we were there.
Our tour began at The Monument of Remembrance, usually known by the nickname of the Gëlle Fra ('Golden Lady'). This war memorial in Luxembourg City, in southern Luxembourg, is dedicated to the thousands of Luxembourgers who volunteered for service in the armed forces of the Allied Powers during World War I.
Located on William Square, it was built between 1830 and 1838 in neo-classical style. The stones of the old Franciscan monastery, dismantled in 1829, mainly went into its construction. In 1931 two bronze lions were added to flank both sides of the outdoor stairs.
The edifice is the seat of the city administration and houses the plenary hall of the municipal council.
A little bit further you will find the Luxembourg City Tourist Office.
Equestrian Statue of William II
This bronze statue was set up on William Square to pay tribute to the King and Grand Duke William II of Nassau-Orange. He ruled from 1840 to 1849 and, one year before his death, granted the Grand Duchy its first parliamentary constitution, one of the most liberal in Europe at the time.
The riding figure of William II is the work of the French sculptor Antonin Mercié; the statue of the horse is by Victor Peter. The pedestal of the monument reveals the coat of arms of the House of Orange-Nassau and of Luxembourg and the ones of the 12 cantons of Luxembourg.
From William Square, we walked to the Notre-Dame Cathedral which we will cover in a separate post.
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