1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Luxemburg (city)

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LUXEMBURG, or Lützelburg (i.e. the little fortress or town), the capital of the grand-duchy of the same name (see above), situated on the Alzette, a tributary of the Sûre. Pop. (1905) 20,984. The situation is romantic, steep cliffs overhanging the winding river, and the principal portion of the town with the palace and public buildings covering a central plateau. The more densely populated parishes of Clausen, Pfaffenthal and Grund lie in the valley. As a fortress Luxemburg was considered the strongest in Europe after Gibraltar, which it was supposed to resemble because many of its casemates were cut into the rock. It was dismantled in 1867. Two colossal viaducts carry the railway and the approach from the railway station to the town. Since the place ceased to be a fortress the population has more than doubled, and the Alzette is lined with tanneries, breweries and distilleries. The Hôtel de Ville dates from 1844 and contains a collection of antiquities. The church of Notre Dame was built in 1613, and that of St Michael, with parts dating from 1320, contains the tomb of blind John of Luxemburg, king of Bohemia, slain at Crécy. There are two annual fête days, one in honour of Our Lady of Luxemburg, patroness of the city, held on the Sunday before Ascension Day, and the other the annual fair or Schobermesse (tent fair), instituted in 1340 and held each year on the 24th of August.