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The history of Luxembourg's "table mountains"
Culture & Life

The history of Luxembourg's "table mountains"

2 min. 14.03.2012 From our online archive
On the Eastern borders of Gréngéwald, there are some the largest sandstone hills in Luxembourg’s Gutland (Good land). These hills, or “Table Mountains”, contain large water reserves.

On the Eastern borders of Gréngéwald, you’ll find some of the largest sandstone hills in Luxembourg’s Gutland (Good land). These hills, or “Table Mountains”, are an essential part of the area, as they contain large water reserves, still supplying much of the region’s drinking water.

Widdebierg and Kréckelsbierg are the two largest water reserves, rising about 350 m above sea level, yet they are mostly known for their historic and cultural value.

Widdebierg is today classified as a national natural reserve, but several Roman artifacts have been discovered on the hill, e.g. a sanctuary, several Minerva statutes and animal figurines as well as votive stone inscriptions. Walking at the foot of the Widdebierg you’re most likely walking on one of the most important Roman roads in Luxembourg.

The name Widdebierg is said to come from “Veraudunus” a name dating back to the Iron Age, when the Celts honoured Veraudunus as a God. It is unclear what God the name refers to since the word “Veraudunus” has only been found on inscriptions excavated from Mensdorf’s Widdebierg. Experts have assumed that the name is directly related to the large sandstone hill Widdebierg and that Veraudunus was honoured as a personification of the mountain, which at that time might have borne the same name. Some assume that the name is based on the etymological derivation of the Celtic word “vero-dunon” which means “a large anchored hill“. Others have speculated that the name “Veraudunus” might have the same origin as the French “Verdun” originating from the Celtic word “vero-dunno”.

Looking towards the South from Widdebierg, you’ll see another sandstone table mountain: Kréckelsbierg.

Although the "mountain" is an important resting place for migrating birds and nesting place in Spring, it cannot pride itself with the same archaeological discoveries as its neighbour. Instead, the hill has had to succumb to the construction of a large mobile phone antenna including the necessary security installations (i.e. fences, cameras etc.). It’s also a well-liked spot for teenagers and other young-of-heart individuals to test the maximum power of their home-tuned cars, have one too many or even distribute less legal intoxicants. Consequently, it’s not always the safest area to take a late-night stroll with your dog.

It is debated where the name Kréckelsbierg comes from, and often you’ll hear locals referring to the mountain as “Crequis Bierg”. Some say, the name comes from the French “Créquir” which is a rare wild cherry or plum tree. The “Créquir” is also used in the “de Créqui” family's coat-of-arms.

Others say, complementing the first myth, that the son of Charles II de Crequi de Blanchefort de Canaples, Francois de Crequi, was a Marshall of one of Vauban’s troops when the French king Louis XIV seized Luxembourg. The myth says that the troops led by Francois de Créqui, Maréchal de France, had their camp on Kréckelsbierg, which has given the mountain its name. Consequently, the origin of the mountain’s name boils down to a tree.

Grandfathers tell their grandchildren, that the two large cavities found on top of the Créquis Bierg are bomb craters from the WWII. However interesting that may sound, it seems more reasonable to assume that the craters were, and still are, caused by the erosion of the sandstone.

Or maybe that Francois de Créquis lived in a hole?