General summary of city:
Namur is the capital of Wallonia, the French speaking southern part of Belgium. It is also the most important town in the province of Namur. This place of historical interest is located 60 km south-east of Brussels, Belgium's capital city.
Over the past centuries of years, Namur has acquired the status of being one of the most strategic places in Belgium because of its geographical location. Namur dwells at the confluence of the Sambre River and the Meuse River which are the two major waterways. The very fact that the town is located at the union of these two rivers bears a lot in terms of historical and military significance.
The foundation of Namur goes back to the age old Roman era. Namur played a major role due to its strategic location and the place witnessed a lot of wars and subsequent destruction of monuments and buildings right from Roman aggression through the Second World War. The city has undergone a lot of makeover with changing times. You may not find a lot of archaeological remains or artifacts because most of them have been destroyed in historical conquests. However the city is rich enough to offer the visitor a lot of pleasant diversions which may leave him or her asking for more.
The city has a population of more than 100,000. The terrain is largely hilly and agricultural. You will find a lot of extensive granite, marble and limestone quarries here. Also found are glass and cutlery factories. A resort industry is steadily taking shape along the southern stretch of the Meuse.
French is vastly spoken broadly and mostly no one but a true Belgian may be able to discern the difference between the Belgian and French accents here. Namur is a beautiful locale complete with hotels and restaurants that promise to keep visitors mesmerized and natives proud.
Places of interest:
The greatest monument and the proud landmark of Namur is the Citadel. The place echoes with historical significance. It served as a strategic fortress and was witness to many aggressions, sieges and numerous wars. The Citadel also underwent many restructurations in the course of time. You can not afford to miss out on this beautiful piece of history in Namur. The Citadel is open through out the day for visitors to partake in the rich past of the historic wonder.
The Meat Hall is another monument which can hold visitor interest. Built on the banks of the Sambre, it is one of the most significant archaeological museums of Wallonia. Constructed in the later half of the sixteenth century, the structure made of blue stones and brick is another irresistible attraction.
Namur's only belfry tower (bell tower) is the St. James tower built in the later half of the fourteenth century. Situated on the Place des Armes, the tower overlooks the city and was used quite strategically in the olden times to look out for any kind of impending attack on the province. The St. Alban's Cathedral with its Italian influence is another traffic stopper.
Things to do:
Besides being a popular tourist center with an attractive landscape, Namur has a casino in the southern part of the left bank of the Meuse. Namur is also quite famous for the beer festival at Easter. If you are visiting Namur in September, you can watch a peculiar Namurois custom called the Combat de l'Echasse d'Or (Fight for the Golden Stilt). Held annually on the third Sunday in September, you can witness two teams known as the Avresses and the Mélans, dressing up in traditional outfits while standing on stilts and performing a battle-skit in one of the town's main areas.
The place is famous for churches and cathedrals, prominent among them being the St. George. Albans Cathedral. You can walk through the narrow streets of Namur and visit some of the interesting museums Namur has to offer. If you have less time, then you can visit Trésor d'Hugo d'Oignies at the Jue Billiard Street 17. You can witness some beautiful gold and silver artifacts and reliquaries belonging to the early 13th century.
One should visit the historical places of interest including the demilitarized Citadel. Here you can visit the Guy Delforge Parfumerie. The workshop open to public participation shows you the step by step process involved in producing some of the best perfumes in the world.
Food and Drink:
Namur is famous for food which has a mixture of German quantity and French quality. People in Belgium follow a strict etiquette when it comes to food and drinks. The local dishes in Namur are palatable to say the least. Meat and red wine are the favorites here and Burgundy sells like, well chilled beer.
Flamiche is another favorite. The rich chest flamiche cooked over a wood fire is relished with a lot of interest here. So much is the public love for flamiche that there is a flamiche festival which is held every September in Dinant, a town near Namur. The flamiche is complimented well with the drink amber ale. The flamiche-amber ale combination is akin to the pizza-wine combination that you have in the US. People in Namur also love their beer and there are some who like to have beer along with the flamiche instead of the amber ale. The prominent beer names are Sara (bittersweet in taste) and Joseph (fruity to taste).
Among meat, venison, Ardennes sausage, smoked ham, veal, pork and the famous Ardennes paté is favored. The health conscious folks of Wallonia and Namur are quite particular about their salads. In fact, the salade liégeoise, rich with warm bacon pieces and green beans, is predominately indulged in through the region. The dessert consists of tarts topped with rhubarb or sugar.
Hotel and accommodation:
Namur has plenty of restaurants, cafés and boutiques. It is a shopping haven for books, stationery, CDs and DVDs. There are two popular cinema halls the Cameo in Rue de Carmes and the Elderado in Rue de Fer. The former can be accessed when you take a two minute walk down the narrow street from the Elderado through the shopping arcade.
The Royal Theater of Namur is a cute and attractive looking theater that underwent renovation few years ago. Visitors have a free entry although the main hall may not be accessible during rehearsals. The Theater of Namur plays about 100 different shows and concerts every year, of which about half of them take place in the magnificent Royal Theater of Namur.
The Royal Theater is an Italian style theater prepared with state of the art acoustic technology. The stage operation is computerized to a certain extent. Thanks to the fiber optic technology the theater is connected directly to the Belgian radio and TV channels. The main auditorium or the Royal hall has 950 seats while there are other halls with less seats and a foyer. The Theater of Namur also arranges for shows at the Grand Manège of Namur, concerts in some of the prominent churches of the city and also holds some prominent events at the Citadel.