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Siddarth Luxembourg city site and situation

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Siddarth's highly detailed site and situation report

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Siddarth Luxembourg city site and situation

  1. 1. 16.12.16 Luxembourg City Report Luxembourg City is the capital of the smallEuropean nation of Luxembourg. A center for bankers and investors, Luxembourg City is home to people from all around the world. But it was settled as a fortress, builtas a strategic outpost for defence and offence, populated by knights and kings. Here is a reporton the site and situation of the city. Section A: The Site Basic Facts: ‘’Luxembourg, alsoknown as Luxembourg City, is the capital city of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and its most populous commune.’’ Luxembourg City is located atop a rocky sandstonepromontory overlooking thevalley of the Alzette River. In ancient times, it had had a Roman outpostatop it. After purchasing it from some monks, CountSiegfried of the Ardennes turned the site into a formidable fortress. Itwas built and chosen as a settlement by Siegfried for its sheer defensivemight, as it was atop a high valley with a sheer drop to its cliffs, with the drop being 70 m in height. Being a fortress town with defence as its priority, the city is built at different levels to make it harder for enemies to climb it to attack. The city has a mildly oceanic climate with the averagetemperature being 17°C, with winters not too cold and summers not too hot. Luxembourg City is approximately 300 mabove sea level. In total, the land area is around 51.46 km². Wiki of LuxembourgCityToday;city itself inorange
  2. 2. SanderusMaps of Luxembourg City(old) Site Type: ‘’The city centre occupies apicturesquesiteona salient, perchedhighonprecipitous cliffs that dropinto the narrow valleys of the Alzette.’’ The city appears to haveelements of five site types; a Valley Site, a Gap Town, a Defence Site, a Bridging Point and a Route ConvergenceSite. The houses and main fort for the warriors and Counts werearranged similarly to a Gap Town, however the commoners lived on the banks of the Alzette, making their homes similar to a Valley Site. The valley has many bridges built across it as well with settlements on both sides, making it have elements of a Bridging Point. Its elements of a Route ConvergenceSite come fromthe fact that it was built at a junction of two Roman roads, meaning trade and wealth gathering for the knights could be easier. Its Defence Site elements are foundinthe fact that it is in the meander of the River Alzette, atypical feature for a defensive siteas it gave the advantage of a natural barrier on3 out of 4 sides. As mentionedmany times, the city was chosen specifically for its defensive capabilities and its arrangement as a defence site is showninthe map above. I think that the dominant site type is a mix of Gap Town, as the main settlement as well as the remains of the fortress of Lucilinburhuc (the fortress of Siegfried) are locatedatopthe valley insteadof in it and the fact that the valley is not a part of the site itself, whichpredominantly makes it a Gap Town as the main city and the fortress bothfit intothe aforementioned category. It has a river (the Alzette) anda valley nearby to qualify as a Gap Town and a river meander for a Defense Site, andsince the mainsettlement is atop a promontory overlooking the valley it thereby becomes a mix of a Gap Town and a Defense Site. Access toResources: ‘’The agricultural resourcesof Luxembourg are quite modest’’ The site itself has access to a variety of resources essentialto maintain a successfulsettlement. Itboasts arable land, meaning that growing crops and
  3. 3. feeding animals (cattle, sheep and fowl) would be easy. Crops could flourish at or around the site, and thus not only could the inhabitants remain fed, the remaining crops could be sold or traded for valuable resources from other towns. However, mostof the crops would not be grown in the city itself, but at the houses towards theedges of it. The city overlooks thebanks of a river, meaning water for drinking, cleaning or sewagedraining is easy to fetch and meaning nourishmentand hygiene are easily taken care of. Paintings suchas the one below TIME PERIOD? alsoshow that the city had and exploitedgood soil, as large portions of healthy land are scatteredaroundthe city and some land has clearly beengivenover for farming by the inhabitants. The city has a small but sufficient measureof wood around it, useful for fuel or for buildings, and the rocky sandstonecliffs of the plateau could providestone for larger constructs such as the fortress of Lucilinburhuc itself. The city is also built on a junction of two Roman roads, partof a huge network of roads that spread across Europeand bits of Africa and Asia, allowing for an immense trading route and meaning resources thatcould not be obtained on-site could be traded for by passing traders, soldiers or travellers. The closest cities onthe roads were Trier and Metz, twomajor cities for both Frankishand Germanic tribes, meaning that traders andmerchants could make short journeys tothese major cities tosell goods at the local markets to people from all over modern France, Belgiumand Germany. Trier in particular was a powerful city at the time, making it an ideal place to have a connection withthrough a road. Benefits for Inhabitants: Peasants and farmers could thrive with the rich soil for their crops and animals, artists could be attracted by the promontory’s picturesqueview of the valley below for their art, travellers and traders for the site’s convenient location upon a road junction, and mercenaries could come for work in the employ of the lords and knights. Wiki of LuxembourgCityinoldendays
  4. 4. Section B: The Situation Soil: ‘’(The) termGutland arises fromthe fertile soil andwarm, dry summers’’ Luxembourg City is part of the Gutland (Good Country) area, an area known for its fertile and well- drained land. This gave rise to the many vineyards that we find surrounding thecity. The fertile soil would have been of great interest to Siegfried as it meant that he could grow various crops and animals for meat to satisfy himself and his men’s appetites. The site would be excellent for soil as well as cattle, and the soil’s condition was key to a successfulsettlement. Metal Deposits andWater: The area has plentiful iron ore deposits, meaning that if Siegfried had discovered the metal, he and his men could havefashioned weapons for themselves without having to use precious resources to purchaseweapons fromtraders. The woods around the city (as mentioned before) had fuel for the inhabitants to cook food and to keep warmand the wood combined from the rock from the cliff sides could be used to build walls and houses. The River Alzette that runs through the city can be used for water and if possiblefishing, so the peasants living in the valley could find someway to make a living other than justfarming and selling crops to the higher classes. Defensive Capacity: ‘’Luxembourg took pride in the flattering historical epithet of ‘’Gibraltar of the North’’ as a result of its allegedimpregnability.’’ Perhaps the most important factor and the sole reason for Siegfried’s choice of the site is becauseof its defensive strength. Luxembourg, in particular the city, Wiki of Lucilinburhuc TrekEarthof part of the Gutland
  5. 5. is the ‘’Gibraltar of the North’’, as was declared by many great powers of the time. Luxembourg City is high atop a valley, the Pfaffenthal, with a steep climb and a long drop to it, so access for Siegfried’s enemies would be extremely tricky, if not impossible. The site has uneven heights, meaning that enemies would waste their energy climbing the rises while they wereshot down by archers from the giant fort’s turrets. The need of bridges to invade the whole fort for enemies was also another advantage, as the bridges could be destroyed to preventenemies from crossing, effectively trapping them until they were captured or killed. Photographs of old maps reveal that Luxembourg alsohad the river as a kind of moat, and soonly neededheavy walls on one side of the city while all others were automatically coveredby the river Alzette, alsomeaning that building resources would not be wastedon expanding the walls. The place was excellent defensively and if the natural strengths didn’tward off or cut down enemies, then Siegfried’s powerfulfortdid. Modern Growth: Defensive Prestige: Luxembourg City’s famed reputation as a powerfulnaturalfortification made it a key target for many nations or empires to conquer. As a result, its history up until 1944 has been one of war and conquering, as nearly all the countries around it tried to grab Luxembourg for themselves. Luxembourg ended up being taken over or settled by the Treveri, the Romans, Siegfried, Burgundy, the Bourbons, theHohenzollerns, the Habsburgs, theFrench, Prussia, the Netherlands and finally the Nazis. Over the years the fortress was gradually strengthened until it became an incredibly strong outpostfor whichever country ruled it at the time. However, in the 19th century, after French rule ended, Luxembourg City’s fortifications gradually became less and less prominent until the Nazis finally put an end to Luxembourg City’s great history as a fortress town. Wiki of Oldmap of the city
  6. 6. Steel andIron Mining: ‘’Luxembourg owes its wealthtothe presence of a powerful steel industry’’ Shortly after the Nazis weredefeated in WWII, massivedeposits of iron ore were uncovered in Luxembourg. Soon, people fromall over Europe were flocking into the Grand Duchy to mine the iron and steel fromthe country’s soils. The‘60s nearly saw an economic decline for Luxembourg as thousands of people started to depend on the rapidly fading steel deposits for a sourcefor economic flow within Luxembourg, and the city, as the capital, was affected by it most. Soon enough, the world steel market quickly collapsed due to too much mining and from that point on Luxembourg started to depend lesser and lesser on its own natural resources. Banking and Economics: ‘’The country has one of the highest GDP per capita in the world’’ Now, Luxembourg city is home to people of multiple cultures who havecome here as expats or permanent residents to work for numerous international businesses thathave set up offices here. The city has grown into a center for bankers, investors and businessmen and the prosperous economy that it has come to enjoy comes not from the benefits of natural resources, butfrom the constantflow of wealth happening in the city. Luxembourg is now the world’s second richestcountry and the old forthas largely been demolished. The country, as well as the city, now gain their economy fromthe various businessmen who enter and exit the nation. Limiting Factors: Travelerguidance blog of LuxembourgCity Wiki of Steel Mine inLuxembourg
  7. 7. There are indeed very few limiting factors in the situation that could possibly hinder Luxembourg’s growth, butthere is one prominentfactor that stands out among them; the country’s (and thecity’s) size. Luxembourg has always been a small country, but now, with the constant flow of people coming in to the country, it is in danger of overpopulation. The city’s natural features such as trees and fields are slowly being destroyed to build tightly- packed apartments and offices to supportthe vastnumber of people entering the country. The Oesling remains largely untamed and undeveloped, so builders are building more and more on the Gutland, particularly the city, and now people moving in are starting to have to live in tiny establishments crammed in along the city and the surrounding communes. The country’s other natural features, sadly enough, can only be truly seen if one goes out to the Oesling, which is incredibly ruraland in complete contrastto the Gutland, a heavily-urbanized economic area. The capital, Luxembourg City, is now being covered with buildings and the valley bottom remains a rural, local area, with no one even bothering to try building moredown there. Conclusion Overall, Luxembourg City has had a complex history. Its uniquesituation led it to become one of the most prosperous cities in the world. Its natural fortifications made it a desirable target and the principal reason why Count Siegfried settled in it years ago. Now, all of that has beenforgotten, but Luxembourg City continues torise andgrow, withmore and more people from all over the worldflowing in. All of this was startedby its desirable geographical strengths, whichyouhave learnedabout through this essay. Thank you for reading this essay. Google Maps of Luxembourg Cityasof 2009 Google Maps of Luxembourg Cityas of 2016

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