Echternach

Overview

Introduction

Echternach, Luxembourg, an early center of European Christianity located 20 mi/32 km northeast of Luxembourg City, was heavily damaged during World War II, but it has been completely restored. Its narrow, cobbled medieval streets, ancient ramparts and old patrician houses still impart a feeling of centuries past. We suggest at least a one-day visit.

Among Echternach's highlights are the scenic Gorge du Loup (Wolf's Canyon), the Museum of Prehistory, a Benedictine abbey (today a school), a seventh-century basilica (beautifully painted vaults and frescoes, and the white marble sarcophagus of its founder, St. Willibrord) and near the lake, one of the biggest Roman villas in Europe. The town has a number of bars and restaurants, too.

Echternach is probably best known for its hopping, centuries-old Whittuesday dance procession (in May or June, depending on the year), which attracts many pilgrims and visitors. Known as the Sprangpressessioun, the dancers spring two steps to the left and two to the right through the streets of Echternach to an audience of thousands.

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