Luxembourg - Place Guillaume II dig gives insights into 13th century convent


Photos : Pierre Matgé

Archaeologists have been able to paint a clear picture of how a 13th Century Franciscan convent and cloister under today's Place Guillaume II in Luxembourg City once looked.

LuxembourgFirst results from the National Archaeological Research Centre (CNRA) unearthed the choir of the 13th century convent with steps from a spiral staircase that most likely led to a crypt. The existence of this crypt was unknown until today.

As part of the survey, the foundations of the 13th century cloister were unearthed, showing the walls were decorated with colourful murals and even gold, while the floor was covered with glazed tiles in green, yellow and black.

Archaeologists also discovered two graves that may be associated with the church from the 17th century.

Luxembourg1The analysis is being carried out as part of expansion works for an underground car park to preserve this heritage and learn more about the Franciscan convent, which played such an important role in the city's history.

Luxembourg3The site is under Place Guillaume II, also known as “Knuedler” to Luxembourgers. The word “Knuedler” refers to the rope belt worn by the Franciscan monks who, in 1222, founded a convent in front of the walls of the medieval city of Luxembourg.

The convent included a church and cloister, which spanned most of what is today a public square.

Towards the end of the 18th century, following the conquest of the fortress by French troops in 1795, the monastery was dissolved and annexed in 1796. In 1804, Napoleon donated the old Franciscan property to the City of Luxembourg. 

An 1811 map also shows religious buildings and landscaped gardens in the seventeenth century. On the cadastral plan drawn up around 1904, all traces of the convent disappeared following major demolition work.