Ranked as the second largest metropolitan in the country, Esch-sur-Alzette is the capital of its own canton. The rustic township is fabled for its war and industrial heritage sites and stone-paved alleys dotted with stylish coffee shops, markets for typical fresh goods, souvenir boutiques and modern quarters with shopping malls, but that’s not all; numerous museums, historic monuments, and art, both ancient and contemporary, are the cultural enrichment of the place. To find out more about Esch-sur-Alzette, here is our guide to the top 15 attractions in Terres Rouges.
A great part of the city’s contemporary history and culture- including influences on art, is inspired by world wars and the resistance of the township against Nazi troop; much of these stories recount bittersweet stories of loss and bravery. At the National Museum of Resistance, displays of war artifacts, documents, and even exhibitions of art.
War memorials are dedicated to those who shed their bodies, owed to the Nazi movement and german occupation; including the innocent workers at the mines of Terres Rouges. A series of exhibitions are dedicated to the belongings of important personas as war refugees and political prisoners testify their presence in Esch in several sections; the entrance hall presents the works of the distinguished german sculptor, Lucien Wercollier, who died in Luxembourg City while in exile.
The town’s epicenter of religious principle, the church of saint henry, is attended by the residents of the catholic faith, and admirers of church architecture. The exterior is dominated by baroque style, although offering gothic hints, characteristic to Esch-sur-Alzette churches and cathedrals.
Its high rising bell tower dominates the large complex that harbors a wealth of art, inherited by centuries of artistic devotion such as Mezzo frescoes, a gothic altar, and an arched vault that bears the weekly masses; a scenery that rises the sense of veneration even in nonbelievers.
Steel mining and trade was the key element in the growth of Esch while having a significant impact on the country’s commercial affairs. Galerie Pavillon du Centenaire was established to illustrate an art gallery and other related exhibitions; and as a remembrance memento of the hundredth anniversary of steel mining; a bold building, built entirely in steel. Parallel to the valuable collections, this modern infrastructure is one of the town’s main interests.
Today, audio and guide tours furnish a comprehensive view on the history of mining and details of permanent and temporary biennales. An open space in front of the building allows the sightseers to appreciate the sight of architecture and curious color combinations of the building, while enjoying a cup of coffee, with a side of Esch’s famous pastry. After reviewing the gallery, take a walk to nearby Municipal Park, or head to the walking trails, just outside the urbanscape.
As a member of the world’s largest memorial project across 18 countries, the metropolis holds 14 Stolpersteine in the memorial of honored resistance fighters; a brass plate that reveals the name and slight information of the name holder. They are found in various spots in the city on the cobbled roads, walls, and besides a handful of monuments.
One instance pertains to a respected commander who bravely sheltered 25 war victims in the Minett. Such tributes to the emblems of freedom fighting symbolize the social honor and suffering pre and post wars periods.
The vibrant red color of the rocks lying on the Esch-sur-Alzette mining valleys testify on the iron composition of rocks and hence earning its nickname, Terres Rouges. Much of the grand duchy’s commercial history took place here, consequent with the discovery of these deposits. The area comprised small accumulations of coal and larger sections of iron ore and steel. Ultimately, after 200 years of continuous mining, the first and major pits of steel ran dry in the mid-20th century.
Today, Fond-de-Gras Mine Park serves as an open-air museum and one of the country’s major touristic interests- that aims to combine history and adventurous sightseeing. Two of the old repository locomotives, also known as Minièresbunn, stand as the glimmers of WWII and a historic amusement. whereas the mining cars that once carried coal or rocks or the mineworkers, instead offer hop-on tours around the exhibitions of quarrying and used as a mode of transportation to mining galleries.
The park itself assembles within a hospitable village settlement by the same name. Close to the village, a small city shares borders with France and Germany, Pétange; a delightful city with a substantial French collision in its architecture and cuisine.
Only a few kilometers from Fond-de-Gras, museum of Mine Cockrill lounges on the green country of Ellergronn Nature Reserve. The museum portrays the economical boom of Luxembourg as a result of Cockrill Company activities in the past two hundred years, as an industrial heritage. Parts of the museum honors the mineworkers who lost their lives in the line of duty.
Adjacent to the principal building is the ancient mine of Katzenberg, the foundation of a museum hall and an open-air exhibition. Visit the museum on the Minett collective tour, or stopover on your way into the wilderness of Ellergronn national park.
An extensive tour encompasses the entire mining heritage of the city in an area of 35 kilometers, consisting of Mine Cockrill, Fond-de-Gras, Furnaces, and National Mining Museum in Rumelange. The national museum, unlike the other mining stations, lies beneath the surface. The extensive network of these mine tunnels in Rumelange has formed over a hundred years ago and currently harbor a museum. Through narrow tunnels, small locomotives descend to the mines that were once the main producer of revenue for the grand duchy.
Crossing the underpasses, the tunnels lead to the under-the-ground treasury of tools and machinery that suggest various stages in the industrial revolution. Historians consider the national museum as a grand collection of mining technology transformation from early to the late modern eras.
In the western quarters of the town, the historic place of metallurgical factories determines the most technologically advanced district in the canton. While Belval faced a financial fall after the steel mining had come to an end, it regenerated its focal strength from scientific aspects; the science city of Belval houses a large university campus and offers guided tours for the visitors and technology fanatics. Besides industrial innovation, the post-modern technologies of steel factories are regarded as cultural in heritages.
A total of four blast furnaces remain, of which one functions as a public museum. Displays of art, educational documents, and monumental relics of mainly the industrial era of Esch, and prior. The industrial history and richness of knowledge is the intellectual undertone of these quarters, complemented with the lively ambient; student groups chatting in cafes, stylish bars, and music from street artist performances to the town’s magnificent concert hall.
The red rocks of Esch-sur-Alzette are one of the many bounties of Ellergronn Nature Park, together with a scenic landscape, flora and fauna, and charming village inhabitants. Since the economical clash of Luxembourg and discontinuation of mining, Ellergronn restored its previous grandeur of greenery; many animal species returned or found a new refuge in the park, thus offering many occasions for wildlife spotting.
Some of the country’s famous routes lie here at Ellergronn; hiking trails of “European Natura 2000”, “Man and Forest”, mountain bike trails, and many others. They collectively link the terrain of grassy meadows, thick woodlands with moss-covered surfaces, arched-rock passages, and romantic ponds that often are home to aquatic migrating birds.
Following these trails, it is easy to come by villages with French characteristics, for a night stay or a taste of the authentic culinary; the picturesque hamlet of Lasauvage sheathed at a heart of a small valley, offering a typical guest house, often with bed-and-breakfast invitation.
Kamellebuttek is one of the residential apartments in the popular quarters of Esch, that houses classic to a contemporary art collection. With a rustic feel of an artist’s workshop or even house. On the exterior, the walls feature the local mural art, while the interior is a rich collection of masterworks by both foreign and native painters.
Often artists perform live art while her work is displayed in the atelier. Regarded as one of the intellectual centers of Esch, the gallery is flanked by alternative cafes and music bars; a perfect place to set the tone for an arty evening.
A fan of sophisticated performance arts? at Théâtre d’Esch visitors can discover artistic plays in many genres, theatrical dance by virtuoso dancers, and educational programs for the guests and university students. Serving as the main theatre of the town, the lavishly decorated interior divides into two auditoriums. The larger one has a seating capacity of over 500 audiences and is the epicenter of opera, classical music, and contemporary classics such as jazz performances.
The smaller auditorium, however, offers a more intimate setting with approximately 100 seatings. The facilities of this hall are used for scholarly purposes like literary recitals, book openings, symposiums, and occasional small concerts.
Paces from the Museum of Science City, Rockhal is the title given to an amplified music hall that said to be the largest of its kind in Luxembourg. fabled for the international artists, the salon covers from workshops, seminars, classical and modern music, to ballet and theatre performances on unique circumstances.
The complex also incorporates a high-toned French restaurant with a cultured ambient and a casual bar for a quick refreshment between the concert.
For a day of family fun, and indulging in all the activities children would love, visit Gaalgebierg animal shelter. On the further slopes of the municipal park, narrow trails head to a protected zone withholding often abandoned or abused animals in large closure. The park is completely free of charge while providing a happy and safe animal petting experience, in particular for the young children.
An adjacent entertainment facility contains junior and youth playgrounds, verged by small waterfalls and flowerbeds around the pedestrian paths. A football stadium and a natural ice field that is available only through the winter are other notable structures reachable on foot.
Translated to “the baths of Esch“, Escher Schwemm comprises a verdant landscape that has been promoted to an Aquatic park; with plunge pools, diving slabs, whirlpools, and a large slide. The natural green scenery and the tree peeking over the artificial piscinas combine a pleasant surrounding for a day away from the bustling city traffic.
A wellness spa to enhance the wellbeing while visiting the baths, a few cafes and restaurants to cater hors d’oeuvres, and green lawns to relax away from the playgrounds: this complex is one of the popular tourist attractions in the grand duchy, blending all that is required for an all-out amusement.
At Belval quarters, every viewer admires the magnitude of the skyscrapers, built with the apparatus of human genius. Some of these modern towers contain the steel industry head offices and the esteemed shopping facilities of signature clothing, branded footwear, and luxurious jewelry boutiques.
Belva Plaza Shopping Center is an extensive complex that covers clothing, beauty and spa, gyms, and a large food court. A stone through from the plaza sits the Kinepolis Belval Cinema; it is a state-of-art structure, as one of the noteworthy architectonic gravitations of the township.
The gastronomy of Esch-sur-Alzette canton, because of its geographical position, is heavily influenced by French culinary art; specialties of braised meat, cured cheese, and tender pastry. Some settlements such as Bettembourg and Rodange have retained the regional recipes. Dishes of broad beans, meat, and vegetables, often with broth, and sided with freshly baked bread. An hour drive from the capital, Bettembourg city conceals an amusement park, with themed as magical fairyland with outdoor recreation grounds and restaurants.