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Echternach Travel Guide: 119 reviews and 208 photos

Echternach is known for its abbey and Willibrord. It s a cosy little place with small alleys and walking ways. When you walk through this village you get the feel of the old days.


Echternach was discovered by the Romans in the 1st century B.C. Echternach is in a little valley created by the river Sauer (Sure, which is the natural border to Germany) and the woods around it. During Roman time trade with the German village Trier bloomed. Trier is only 30 miles eastwards.
In the 7th century the region of Echternach belonged partly to King Pipin of Herstal (Franken, Germany) and partly to Irmina, Abbess of Oeren (near Trier). In 698 the Abbess donated part of her lands to the Irish Benedictine monk Willibrord who encouraged the protestant development on the Continent. In 706, after Willibrord was ordained bishop by the Pope, King Pipin gave him a large part of the grounds around Echternach. The church and monastry that were built by Willibrord were to become the turn table of Westeuropean christianity over the following centuries.
Echternach soon became an important city for merchants and craftsmen, and in 1236 it was declared a free and independant city.
During the religious wars in 1596 the Dutch (Holländische Geusen) came to Echternach and they held the abbot Johannes Bertels hostage until a ransom was paid.
The monks left the abbey in 1794 during the French Revolution. The abbey was auctioned off with all its wealth.
During the 19th century the Abbey was transformed into a porcelain factory and later on it became a military camp which made many craftsmen leave the city.
In the second half of the 19th century the construction of the railway line caused an economic upturn. As the number of pilgrims fell, the number of tourists increased.
During the second World War Echternach was heavily bombed and after the war the citizens found nothing but ruins when they returned after five months. Despite this, thanks to the financial support of the Government of Luxembourg and the diligence of the citizens, Echternach kept its medieval flair until today.

Four thousand inhabitants live in Echternach. It is situated at 165m altitude in the middle of the idyllic valley of the Sauer and it is surrounded by the nature reserve Muellerthal.
Echternach is famous for its annual spring procession in honour of Saint Willibrord. The pilgrimage attracts thousands of pilgrims. The beautiful old city with its narrow alleys is surrounded by the ring wall and towers. At the market place in the city centre you can find the ikon of Echternach, the Denzelt and the Cross of Justice. Many terraces tempt to a relaxing rest. A pedestrian area from the market place leads to the bus station. The parc (Stadtpark) is right behind the bus station and runs along the river Sauer or Sure. In the parc is a pavillion that was built during the time of Louis XV.
The abbey is close to the parc and has a basilica with towers rising 70m over the city. In the crypt of the basilica is the grave of Saint Willibrord and its worth paying a visit to the museum in the basement. Today the abbey is used as a school.
Close to the border with Germany is the museum for ancient history as well as the St. Peter and Paul church.
Echternach also has a recreation area located at the boundary of the city on the road to (the capital) Luxembourg.
An artificial lake offers a variety of water sports and the ruins of a Roman villa can be visited on a walk around the lake (discovered in 1975).

On the photograph, taken on the market square, you can see the basilica in the background and in the left is the 'Denzelt'.

  • Intro Updated Mar 22, 2003
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Reviews (3)

Comments (2)

  • pepples46's Profile Photo
    Mar 4, 2003 at 9:21 PM

    I love this wee Town :-) and have great memos, tanx for jogging them........fine travelouges

  • cbeaujean's Profile Photo
    Jan 8, 2003 at 8:05 AM

    a miracle....Sun was with you,here!...during the procession,they walk 3 steps ahead followed by 2 steps backwards!


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