Explore Belgium’s la Citadelle de Dinant
The City of Dinant has a lot to offer in terms of activities and excursions. Its most emblematic place in the city is the great Citadel that has been the place where one of the histories of Belgium commenced. “La Citadelle de Dinant” in French which means simply the fortress of Dinant, implies a great impact on its history and people.
You might be curious why does Dinant has this fortress overlooking its city and the Meuse. One the most impressive sights in Wallonia, Well as you know la Citadelle de Dinant serves was originally a fortified castle where kings and queens residing, surrounded by a huge defensive wall constructed by the Bishop of Liège City.
La Citadelle de Dinant
The Fortress was later rebuilt by another bishop named Evrard de la Mark. Years later Louis XIV siege to Dinant and successfully seized the Citadel. Vauban, with the brilliant idea, proposed to the king to rebuild and fortification of the Citadel’s construction.
La Citadelle de Dinant, Castle by that time indeed in a disadvantaged position. Vauban advises his king an idea to protect the castle and as well as its people. Hence, the king convinced and turn the castle into a fortress. There then canons placed in the middle of the flat surface of the fortress to protect the city.
From 1815, the city restored to the Kingdom of Holland and decided to rebuild the citadel and made it as the image that we see today. Finally, in the year 1830, the Kingdom of Belgium founded and the citadel taken over by the Belgian partisans.
Nowadays it became one of the visited places in Dinant, showing its homage to the inhabitants who massacred in the result of the war. On the other hand, it offers a visit to the accessible places in the citadel and visits of the dungeons, kitchens, carriages, and weapon museum. More than that a spectacular views of the town and countryside.
Getting to the Citadel
Getting to this cliff, more than 100 meters above the River Meuse, It’s reached from the town either by cable car or by the 408 steps cut into the hillside. The citadel plays host to a small Arms Museum and several interesting art pieces that show the glorious past of this Meuse town.
The cable car is a “petite boule” where about 10 people can accommodate, a 2 minutes ride to the Citadel. If you are more sportive type then walking on the hillside with 400+ steps would be ideal for you.
View of the River Meuse and City
A quick tip while on the cable car, don’t cause too much motion inside. Stay immobile as possible and go with the flow. If you have fear of heights, better close your eyes or just be brave and look in the sky to deviate yourself.
Interior of La Citadelle de Dinant
It is known that there are only one entrance and one exit in the fortress. I’m sure you are interested to know how did the German troops get into the citadel.
Continuing my adventure in this astonishing place, our tour guide explained, these German troops were on the other side of the hill and conquered the citadel with a surprise attack.
The first impression was, I had some chills. I didn’t have any idea about the Citadel’s history at all. All I know was it’s a historic place where many tourists come to visit.
To be honest, our visit to the Fortress wasn’t planned, my partner decided on the spot and I agreed.
If you’re a fan of history and medieval life you’ll see some pieces of equipment that used by soldiers before to imprisoned their captives. As I’ve mentioned from the last post that my favorite tool was the “Guillotine” the one who cuts a man’s head in a single blink of an eye.
I imagined myself seeing this ancient method of dungeons, I’m totally into watching Game of Thrones right recently so I can truly see how was it to see those prisoners in those torture chambers.
Homage to the Inhabitants and Soldiers
Going to this another chamber, I can hear the sound of the gunshots and people shouting for their lives. In this side, the Fortress shows more of the history of what had truly happened on the drastic day where inhabitants massacred by Germans.
Since Dinant has a great hold of the passage through another city via its essential bridge of the River Meuse. Base on the history, there was only few bridge between different cities and Dinant seems to be in a powerful city to conquer.
That gave an idea to the Germans to attack this City, cause it will surely give them a good place against their enemies the Frenchmen.
You will also bump into this place where you can hear the witness of the war and sharing their personal stories on the day of the war. Get your tissues and handkerchiefs ready cause you’ll absolutely be moved by their stories.
In this place, you’ll see the greatest cannon ready to protect the Fortress against its future invaders (well, we never know). And in its surroundings, it’s filled with intriguing types of equipment, the museum, and restaurant.
Our tour guide manage to explain us well about the purpose of the Cannon in the center, he also made us a small competition against each other playing with the cannon balls. Yes! they are heavy.
The Village and the Meuse View
Getting to the front yard of the site, you’ll be able to see this incredible view of the village and the Meuse. I’m amazed by the rare beauty of the city.
While our tour guide explaining to others and giving a quiz, I’m on the other hand busy of taking photos and taking selfies (which I seldom do).
I was lucky to take a photo with the train en route to its destination. I was in my zoom mode of my DSLR. Fortunately, I still got a nice shot which I’m really proud of. La Citadelle de Dinant truly is amazing place, the heart of history of this amazing region.
On the right side of the center, you’ll see these chambers of the soldiers. Where their kitchen located, there are also beds (twin up and down beds) for soldiers but the truth is soldiers don’t sleep in this area. They actually sleep in the cave of the citadel.
Louis XIV and Vauban
In this part of the chamber, it tells us the story about how Vauban a great engineer who has this invincible idea to reconstruct the Castle and turned into a Fortress.
The second to the last place where you will see various types of weapon expose. This is one of the great parts of the citadel where you will surely discover more of the historical weapons, gears, and pieces of equipment that soldiers from 18th centuries.
Our tour guide showed us the biggest gun that has ever made. It was 2 meters high and heavy as it is. He also explains that if you’re going to carry this one for the whole day or march on the field carrying this weapon you’ll surely be exhausted after even before the war started.
The last Stage
The last part, you’ll go into this bizarre underground place where you will walk into a floor slightly changed. Instead of a flat floor, it’s apparently a slightly left-sided with about 30 degrees direction. You’ll have this feeling of walking to another horizon.
Great tip for you, try to walk straight and don’t let your body walk on the left sideways. It’ll help you to be less dizzy.
How to get to La Citadelle de Dinant?
Via Train, from Brussels City, all you have to do is take the train from Brussels Central Station to Dinant Railway Station. The railway station of the city located 5 minute walk from walk to the river, from where you can see the Citadel and the main parts.
The ride will take you 1.5 hour, with the exact time depending on the station in Brussels you choose as your point of departure. Trains to Dinant leave every hour.
Via Car, the easiest and fastest way to get to Dinant. The A4 motorway (E411) from Brussels to Luxembourg City passes to the east of Dinant, It’ll take a little over an hour from either capital.
Via Plane, Fly to Belgium and take either destinations to Brussels, Charleroi or Liège Airport and from then you can take a bus or train or car. Fastest way will be in Brussels (easiest and convenient way)
Via Bus, personally, I don’t recommend it. But if you insist you can take the bus 57 of Liège Airport to Liège-Guillemins train station (20 mins, bus schedule coordinated with train departures to Brussels or Namur). From there you can take a train to get to Dinant.
Verdict : 10/10
Adults: 8.50 €
Children (4-12 yrs old): 6.00 €
Citadel & Sandmagic : 11.00 €/adult – 9.00 €/children