Beaufort Castles – Beaufort, Luxembourg - Atlas Obscura

Beaufort Castles

Beaufort, Luxembourg

This noble mash-up in eastern Luxembourg is part Medieval, part Renaissance, all castle. 


First built in the 11th century as a small fortress on a rock, Beaufort Castle had the requisite moat and stone walls of Medieval European castles.

But it didn’t stay small for long, and by the 12th century a “keep” had been added – a kind of fortified, giant family room that was inserted into some castle grounds in case things got dicey with invasions and all. You might call it a kind of knightly safe-room.

Adding the keep was the first expansion of the Castle, but it kept expanding, and by the 14th century a daughter of the Beaufort family married a son of the powerful Orley family, and the Castle became property of the House of Orley. The newlyweds had to expand their humble abode a little more of course, and the Castle grew bit by bit over the next hundred years or so, when it changed hands again. The Beaufort-Orley folks had a little scandal (a “breach of trust” as it was called), and Beaufort Castle was repo’d by Maximillian of Austria (who just happened to be the Holy Roman Emperor at the time), and given to a nobleman named Johann Bayer von Boppard – a truly excellent name. Add another hundred years and another Lord, and by 1539 the Medieval Castle found itself in the hands of a Renaissance man: Bernard von Velbrück. He added some pretty fancy Renaissance flair, including a big new wing in the Château style, and windows with crosses as part of new walls that were plopped right on top of the old ones.  

The next owner didn’t fare so well as von Velbrück. As a supporter of the House of Orange and the Dutch revolt against Spanish rule, the Spanish thanked Gaspard de Heu by capturing him, accusing him of heresy and treason, and executing him in the local fish market. (It might be fair to say that he didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition…)

As we all know, it’s hard to keep a castle up, and over the next few hundred years it changed hands again, but fell into disrepair. It took a couple of hundred years after the last full-time residents abandoned the Castle, but eventually, by the early 20th century, a new owner found the wherewithal (and the money) to restore it to such an extent that by 1928 the grounds – including both the Medieval and Renaissance sides – were opened to the public. And since 1988 it has been a Luxembourg national monument.

Know Before You Go

On town road 128 (Rue du Château), just outside of the town of Beaufort

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