In May 2021 the new Téléphérique de Namur was inaugurated, linking downtown Namur – called La Corbeille (The Basket) with the Citadel of Namur. A perfect excuse for Danny and I to travel to the capital of the Province of Namur and of Wallonia.
Namur stands at the confluence of the Sambre and Meuse rivers and straddles three different regions: Hesbaye to the north, Condroz to the south-east, and Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse to the south-west. The city of Charleroi is located to the west. The language spoken is French.
To be honest, Namur doesn’t have a great reputation. It is known as dull and administrative. The city is undergoing major transformations to its infrastructure. And Wikitravel recommends as an activity an excursion to Dinant.
But Danny and I went specifically for the new Téléphérique or cable car. That was inaugurated in May 2021. According to Gazet van Antwerpen, it already is insufficient, but we didn’t notice.
The cable car is the latest mode of transport from the city centre to the citadel. In the olden days, there was a tramway to the citadel. Then came a first Téléférique (yes, with F instead of PH). After a several years of nothing but a road up to the fortress, there’s now the cable car.
It’s all clean, cosy and new. The view ís nice and photogenic. A one-way ticket is 4.50 euros and a return 6.50 euros.
The Citadel or Castle of Namur is a fortress originally from the Roman era, but has been rebuilt several times. Its current form was designed by Menno, baron of Coehoorn, and improved upon by Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, lord and marquess of Vauban after the siege of 1692. It has been classified as a Wallonia Major Heritage site. Its highest point sits at 190m.
The original citadel dates to 937. It achieved its present extent between 1631 and 1675, when the city was under Dutch control. This section was called Terra Nova to distinguish it from the smaller Médiane fort built adjacent in 1542 and ensuing years.
A variety of subsidiary positions were built in the 18th century. It was disestablished as a military post in 1891, superseded by a new ring of forts around Namur that were calculated to prevent the city from being attacked with artillery. This ring became the Fortified Position of Namur in the 1930s. The last soldiers left in de 1970s.
Together with Dinant, Huy and Liège, the Citadel of Namur forms part of the so-called Meuse Citadels.
The citadel was also (in)famous for its motocross grand prix (MXGP). From 1947 until 2007, the citadel hosted the MXGP of Belgium, MXGP of Wallonia or MXGP of Namur.
Because of its special location, Namur was the ‘Monaco of motocross’.
The citadel offers different options for visitors, such as a guided tour of the tunnels or a guide tour by train. We chose the train.
In some 25 minutes, you tour the citadel and you get explanations in three languages: French, Dutch and English. The ride is quite wild. The train, actually a modified Mercedes G320 with two trailers has almost no suspension. But it’s all fun.
After descending to the city centre we waked around in Namur and had lunch. Is visiting Namur worth a day trip? Yes. There’s more to see than we did.
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