Tag Archives: basilica

A visit to Echternach, Luxembourg

Just over an hour by bus from Luxembourg City lies Echternach, the oldest town in Luxembourg.

I picked it over Vianden Castle (another popular destination for short trips from Luxembourg City) for no particular reason. Except that I was curious about crossing the border into Germany – just a walk across the bridge over the river Sauer – and back…

Yet the main attractions here are the Abbey of Echternach, which was founded in the 7th century, and the Roman Basilica, rebuilt after World War II. The museum of the Abbey is only open during the summer, though, so I couldn’t visit.

The town itself retains a medieval feel, with its narrow streets, old churches, town walls, towers and a marketplace with a Gothic townhouse. This makes a stroll around very enjoyable.

Echternach has also been recognised at European level for its cultural value: in 2008 it was rewarded by the European Commission as “European destination of excellence”. In 2010, the famous Dancing Procession that always takes place on Whit Tuesday became part of UNESCO’s Intangible World Cultural Heritage.

For the summer, there is also a lake and lots of opportunities for outdoor activities. Unfortunately a cold day wasn’t too suitable for that.

A lot going on for such a small place – really worth adding it to your to-do list for Luxembourg!

The archaeological treasures of Pafos

In ancient times, Pafos was the capital of Cyprus and thanks to its exceptional architectural and historic value it is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There are several areas of archaeological interest, mainly in the Kato Pafos area, all of them worth a visit during your time there.

Pafos Archaeological Site
Located just behind the harbour, this is the area where most of the remains from the Hellenistic and Roman periods are located. You can easily spend a couple of hours walking around and appreciating the ruins of ancient villas, palaces, tombs. But the highlights of this area are the beautiful mosaics in the Houses of Dionysos, Theseus, Aion and Orpheus, some of the finest of the Roman times. Excavations are still ongoing and you will find evidence of that!
(Entry fee €4.50).

Solomon’s Catacombs and Agios Lambrianos rock cut tombs
These two sites are almost next to each other along the main road that leaves Pafos harbour heading towards the new Kings Avenue Mall. Walk down the steep steps to visit the catacombs then enjoy the enormous underground caverns of the rock cut tombs, they are definitely interesting sites.

Panagia Chrysopolitissa Church and St. Pauls’ Pillar
The foundations,  some of the marble columns and remains of the original floor mosaics are what’s left of the original 4th century basilica. On the same site is the so-called St. Paul’s Pillar, where according to tradition St. Paul was flogged.

Tombs of the Kings
A couple of Km north of Kato Pafos, this is a large site of underground tombs dating back to the 4th century BC located on barren landscape facing the sea. Despite the name, it was not a royal burial site. The well preserved underground tombs are unique in Cyprus as influenced by ancient Egyptian tradition.
(Entry fee €2.50).

Enough of history and archaeology? Wait for the next post then ;-).