The history of the city is closely linked with that of its main monument the 'Citadel' (stronghold, fortification). In the 3rd and 4th centuries the Romans built a fortified outlook post on top of the rock to defend the Meuse valley against invasions of Germanic tribes. Later, in the 10th century the Count of Namur replaced it with a wooden tower. Around the tower other buildings were added such as a wall, a water pit, a church and a new and bigger tower. Everything was built with stones. Nothing has remained of these first constructions. Between 1235 and 1245 a new fortress with two walls and four towers was constructed (only 2 towers remain, namely the 'Tour aux Chartes' and the Tour au four'). Other parts and towers of this 13th century fortress still exist as well as later additions from the 14th century.
From 1542 till 1555 Emperor Charles V had 'La Médiane'
construced, a citadel that functioned almost as a real city where the
soldiers who protected the fortress could live. Later, other
fortifications were added to protect the most vulnerable parts around
the rock. By the end of the 17th century the surface of the fortress and
its side-parts had doubled in size and the Citadel of Namur had became a
mighty stronghold and one of the largest fortified constructions in
Europe. Only at the beginning of the 19th century large parts of the
Citadel were demolished by order of Napoleon Bonaparte. He found that he
did not need this fortress anymore since his empire had expanded already
far to the East.
Around 1860, the citadel started to be used as a military barracks for divisions of the Belgian army. It again took up its role of military stronghold in 1939-1940 when the underground parts of the citadel were equipped with air-conditioning systems, anti-gas systems and armored doors.
Discover the beauty and the past of this important fortress. Different attractions (audiovisual presentations, underground corridors, a diorama and a tourist train) are offered to the visitor. Open daily from 5 April to 19 April and from 1 June to 4 October from 11 am until 5pm. Reservations for groups : tel 081/ 22.68.29