Luxembourg, A Touristic Series: Eisch Valley.

Along the banks of the Eisch, the vegetation is, in part, very natural, almost wild. The 37 km national path of the Valley of the Seven Castles follows the winding valley of the Eisch which is rich in cultural treasures. Far from the principal motorways, these country roads and peaceful forest paths delight pedestrians and cyclists.

At one time this valley represented, thanks to its production of steel, a thriving site well before the blast furnaces of the Red Earth area belched their smoke. Today, nature once again dominates the area. But if one looks closely, one can still discover traces of this era, such as the many caves in which the families of coal miners lived. Today, the Eisch Valley is part of the largest environmental protection zone in Luxembourg.

Most of the ancient noble residences, such as the fortified castle of Hollenfels or the baroque castle of Ansembourg with its French garden and its mythological avenue, provide us with a glimpse of a past era. Others, such as the ruins of the castle of Koerich, thanks to their characteristic silhouette, confer a picturesque aspect to this village. Celebrities such as Yolande of Vianden, daughter of the Count of Vianden, the French author Victor Hugo and the Belgian poet Amélie Picard, have appreciated the idyllic setting of the Eisch valley.

In years gone by, the Eisch Valley included 7 castles (Fockeschlass and Gréiveschlass in Koerich, the castles of Septfontaines and of Hollenfels, the old and the new castles in Ansembourg and the castle of Mersch), which, from about 1900, earned it the name “Valley of 7 Castles”.

Fockeschlass in Koerich has completely disappeared, while Gréiweschlass dating from before the 12th century and transformed in the 14th and 16th centuries remains one of the most impressive ruins of a castle in the country. The ruins, today the property of the State, were classified as an historic monument in 1938.

The castle of Septfontaines, situated on a spur above the village, dates from the 12th century. Transformed and enlarged around 1600, it was destroyed by a fire in 1779. Classified as an historic monument in 1937, today it is privately owned and surrounds a modern home.

The castle of Hollenfels dates from the 14th century, is known for its dungeon (1380) and its sumptuous Gothic rooms. The dungeon received an impressive new roof in 1973 and is part of the Ecological Centre of the National Youth Service which has occupied the site since the 1970s.

The old castle of Ansembourg, a true eagle’s nest, was mentioned for the first time in 1135. The castle still belongs to the family of Marchant and Ansembourg, former master ironworkers, ennobled in the 18th century.

The new castle of Ansembourg, situated in the valley, was built by the master ironworker Thomas Bidart between 1639 and 1647 and enlarged by Lambert-Joseph de Marchant in the 18th century. It was him who created the magnificent French gardens and the sumptuous entry portal to the court of honour. Today, the castle serves as the regional centre of the Sukyo Mahikari religious community, originally from Japan. The castle and the gardens were classified as historic monuments in 1988.

The ancient dungeon of the Mersch castle houses today the offices of the communal administration.

It was mentioned for the first time in 1232. Destroyed and transformed several times between the 15th and the 18th centuries, the castle housed one of the first youth hostels in the country in the 1930s. In 1980, the castle of Mersch was classified as an historic monument.

Price of the set: 1,40 €
Design: Michel Demart, Grevenmacher (L);
Printing: High-resolution Offset by Enschedé Stamps, Haarlem (NL)
Dimensions: 48,5 x 33 mm, 10 stamps (5 pairs) per sheet.

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