©iStock/f9photos
©iStock/f9photos

The Citadel of Dinant, the Pearl of the Meuse Valley

4 minutes to read

On the banks of the River Meuse, in the province of Namur, is situated the most beautiful jewel of Belgium – the marvelous town of Dinant. If you fancy the quietness of mother nature, impressive history, or a relaxing sailing on a boat, then you would definitely enjoy Dinant. The beauty of the scenery of the region is breathtaking but, undoubtedly, the biggest attraction for every passionate explorer remains 'The Citadel of Dinant – the Pearl of the Meuse Valley.'

©iStock/markandpor
©iStock/markandpor

Up to the top

©iStock/Kawisara Kaewprasert
©iStock/Kawisara Kaewprasert

Perched on a dark outcrop, the fortified citadel is proudly looking over Dinant. You could reach it by the 408 stone steps or by the cable car. I would recommend you to use the steps in one direction, and the cable car in the other. This is how you could fully enjoy the view but also get a feel of the life of the people who inhabit the pretty little houses all over the high and steep hill. That is right; people are living there, using the cable car or the stairs every day. You may get the feeling that you have almost become a halfling, one of the characters of J. R. R. Tolkien’s novel – “Lord of the Rings,” who lives in Hobbiton.

©Desi Krsteva
©Desi Krsteva

Once you reach the top, stop for a moment, take a deep breath of the fresh air and take as many photos as you can of the spectacular panorama that will be revealed before your eyes.

©Desi Krsteva
©Desi Krsteva

Grab a cup of coffee in the cafeteria, while enjoying the statues in its garden. And if you are with children, an attractive, mind-bending playground is at their disposal.

The Citadel

©iStock/SL_Photography
©iStock/SL_Photography

In the 11th century, the current citadel was a castle, built by the prince-bishop of Liège. It was the first castle in the area, established in this place of strategic importance. In 1466, the castle, together with the town, were burned down and destroyed. The castle was rebuilt in the 16th century by the then prince-bishop of Liège. At the beginning of the 19th century, the area was under the rule of the Dutch. They wanted to fortify their new territories and the construction of the citadel was part of the plan. The construction follows the natural form of the rock formation and gives the citadel a shape of a horseshoe.  

©Desi Krsteva
©Desi Krsteva
©iStock/keremberk
©iStock/keremberk

The Citadel of Dinant witnessed many battles, but it remains strong and stable until today, ready to welcome thousands of tourists every year. A walk throughout the number of rooms will transport you back to the past, and you will discover what the daily life of the Dutch garrison used to be like. A kitchen and a bakery, a forge, prison cells, and a dormitory are arranged as they used to be during the First World War. You will have the chance to put on the real overcoat and the shoes of a soldier of that time. If you dare, visit the room with the guillotine and the “fathermurdertable”- a table, where the convict lays down his guilty hand to be chopped off, before being sent to the guillotine.  

©Desi Krsteva
©Desi Krsteva

In the Weapon museum and in the patio, an impressive collection of rifles, machine guns, flamethrowers and mortars will keep you going with more.  

©iStock/AleMasche72
©iStock/AleMasche72

Every year, the citadel hosts temporary exhibitions, like one of adorable sand figures of Disney characters.  

©Desi Krsteva
©Desi Krsteva
La Citadelle de Dinant, Dinant
La Citadelle de Dinant, Dinant
Place Reine Astrid 3, 5500 Dinant, Belgium

More wonders in Dinant

Without a question, the cathedral Notre Dame de Dinant will leave you speechless and breathless. It is a 13th century Gothic cathedral with a remarkable façade and the largest stained glass in Europe.

©iStock/Stanislava Karagyozova
©iStock/Stanislava Karagyozova
Eglise Notre Dame, Dinant
Eglise Notre Dame, Dinant
21 rue de la Chèvre, 57000 Metz, France

Adolphe Sax, the creator of the saxophone, who was born in Dinant, was honored with a permanent urban exhibition called “Art on Sax”. 28 three-meter-high saxophones with creative and unique designs are scattered throughout the city, with some of them situated on the Charles-de-Gaulle Bridge – you cannot really miss them! And that is not everything. There is a little museum, dedicated to the great musician – Mr. Sax’s House, and a beautiful building that hosts the International Adolphe Sax Association. The goal of the Association is to support and coordinate projects inspired by the emblematic figure of Adolphe Sax.

Adolphe Sax Association, Dinant
Adolphe Sax Association, Dinant
N95 112, 5500 Dinant, Belgium
©Desi Krsteva
©Desi Krsteva
Mr. Sax's House, Dinant
Mr. Sax's House, Dinant
Rue Adolphe Sax 37, 5500 Dinant, Belgium

A geological wonder, known as the Caves “La Merveilleuse” is a mandatory stop for every visitor to Dinant. The caves, located only 10 minutes from the city center, are famous for their variably-shaped, primeval stalactites and stalagmites.

©iStock/EvrenKalinbacak
©iStock/EvrenKalinbacak

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Dinant, with its atmosphere and landmarks, is one of the most beautiful towns in Belgium and perhaps in Europe. But what has made it really attractive to thousands of tourists for decades is the perfectly preserved, authentic Citadel of Dinant – the Pearl of the Meuse Valley.

©iStock/Demid
©iStock/Demid

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The author

Desislava Krsteva

Desislava Krsteva

Hi there, my name is Desi. I am an actress, a traveller, and a storyteller. I have always been passionate about discovering new cultures and charming places all over the globe. On itinari, I will make you discover some of the beautiful places in Belgium.

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