History

Namur’s history is interwoven with that of its fortress. Celts, and then Romans, had military camps here, and in the Middle Ages the Counts of Namur built a well-protected castle on craggy rocks overlooking the river junction. Strengthened under Spanish rule in the 1640s, the castle was captured by the French in 1692, then redesigned as a textbook fortress by Louis XIV’s renowned military engineer Vauban. Razed and rebuilt again thereafter, by WWI the fortress was considered impregnable, yet it fell within three days of the German invasion. In WWII Namur suffered again, with heavy bombing causing extensive damage. The citadel continued in military use right up until 1977.