No visitor can miss the stupendous Citadel of Namur, dominating the hill at the confluence of the Meuse and the Sambre. The huge stone fortress is not just a local must-see, but one of Belgium as a whole. It is the site of the oldest permanent settlement in the Benelux, and remains the most extensive construction in the country, with a circumference of several kilometres.
Panorama of the citadel of Namur from Jambes
The citadel was the site of the Celtic Oppidum Aduatucorum where Julius Caesar defeated the Belgic Gauls, it developed into a Roman stronghold against Germanic invasions in the 3rd and 4th century.
In the 10th century, the Count of Namur replaced the Roman ruins by a wooden tower. A stone castle was built between 1235 and 1245, and further expanded in the 14th century.
Emperor Charles V of Habsburg had a complete citadel built between 1542 and 1555. It was named 'La Médiane' and was meant to function as a real city in the events of a war.
The Citadel's walls were doubled in the 17th century and it became one of the most fortified constructions in Europe. Napoleon had part of the Citadel dismantled in the early 19th century.
The view over Namur and the Meuse valley from the castle of the counts, at the eastern tip of the citadel, are breathtaking. There are numerous paths and cobbled streets leading up to the citadel, and many more underground passageways within the fortress. The place is especially beautiful in summer and early autumn. Spare a whole day if you want to explore all the citadel on foot.
The citadel is also home to the Guy Delforge Perfumery. The workshop are open to the public and give visitors the opportunity to understand the different phases of the perfume production process. Tours start at 3:30pm every Saturday (except on public holidays) and cost 3 €. The showroom is open Tuesdays to Sundays (also Mondays in July and August) from 9:15 am to 5:30 pm (Sundays and public holidays 2:15 pm to 5:30 pm). Admission is free.
Check the official website for the full list of visits and seasonal activities.
Ask your travel questions on the Benelux Travel Forum