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Namur’s citadel once again reachable by cable car

21:37 02/05/2021

After almost 25 years out of service, the city of Namur will inaugurate a new cable car service to the citadel next weekend.  

A cable car had been in operation on the River Meuse side for 40 years, starting in 1957. It was discontinued for safety reasons in 1997 when a 23-tonne piece of the mountain was in danger of collapse.

Since 2017, a new cable car on the River Sambre side has been in construction and will open to the public on 8 May.

Initially, the Namur cable car will include six cabins with a capacity of six people each. The number of cabins may be increased to 12 at a later date.

"In the context of the health crisis, at this stage we will limit the capacity of the cabins to two people with masks, instead of six," said mayor Maxime Prévot. “It will also be possible for six people in the same family bubble to embark together."

Originally conceived as a purely touristic project, the city is now looking to expand the operating hours to make it part of Namur’s mobility network.

Namur is located at the meeting point of the Sambre and Meuse rivers, dominated by a lofty crag that has been a strategic location since human beings first encountered it, the oldest remaining traces of human activity dating back to 6000BCE.  

Strategic not only for the confluence of two important rivers but also for the unlimited view of the surrounding countryside, the crag has been home to a citadel for more than 1,000 years and it is one of the largest citadels in Europe, its extensive underground network of tunnels so vast that Napoleon called it “Europe’s termite mound”.

It changed hands continually over the centuries being sieged, destroyed, rebuilt, and expanded many times.

The view, once an unparalleled strategic asset, is now a tourist asset and the citadel along with an open-air theatre, a stadium, and an amusement park aimed at children aged three to 12 form a major tourist attraction.

Written by Richard Harris