As Diekirch was first mentioned in a document as late as the year 1182, there are only assumptions about its history between the 4th and 12th century. What is known is that the settlement had arisen due to religious purposes and, unlike the most settlements during the Middle Ages, formed around or at the foot of fortified castles (some around monasteries too), Diekirch came into being around a church. It is commonly accepted that the name Diekirch derives from the Old High German word Diet or Thiot (people) and the German word Kirche (church), and it literally means People’s Church.
According to some sources (Wikipedia), at the end of the 8th century, Charlemagne resettled the Saxons, in order to obtain more control over them. He also converted them to Christianity, and one of the centers of these activities was Diekirch with the old St. Lawrence Church, around which the settlement has formed.
Yet the church had already existed at the time of the Merovingians (according to sources like the tourist brochure of the church or the website of Amis de l’Orgue Diekirch that seem a bit more authentic to me) and was built in the 6th-7th century on the foundations of a former Roman villa. In its crypt were found Roman and Merovingian stone sarcophagi.
To the left, there are rests of 15th-century frescoes depicting scenes from the life of Saint Lawrence.
The floral motifs date from 16th-17th century.
Another statue of Saint Roch, invoked against the plague, crafted in the 18th century by the great master of the beautiful church in Beho, Jean Georges Scholtus.
In May 2013, during restoration activities, the traditional rooster was removed and replaced with a donkey – maybe the only one (shocking) precedent in the whole history of the Catholic church in general. Why donkey? The donkey is the town’s symbol and mascot, the roots of which, even in more recent times, are again hidden in a couple of versions, all of them banal and linked to the customs and the trivial round of the resident people – nothing of great interest. In that respect, I myself associate Diekirch with the Bulgarian city of Gabrovo, the city of humor and satire, since the information about it explicitly emphasizes the irony of the symbol and the sense of humor of the inhabitants.
I’ve read that from this famous fountain runs beer on special occasions. Diekirch is also famous for its brewery tradition and for its today’s beer, carrying the name Diekirch, that is brewed since 1871.
In 1869, the new Church of St. Lawrence was erected on the foundations of a former Franciscan monastery from the 17th century. The old one was placed under protection as a historic monument in 1978.
The Gothic Revival Wirtgen Castle from 1825 (to the left), today Music High school.
It stands right behind the old Church of St. Lawrence.
It is not regarded as a tourist site, and it was funny when I asked the curator of the church to guide me to the castle and he, although of Diekirch origin, had to check the address on the net only to establish, much to his surprise, that it is located right behind his place of work.
Another beautiful building next to the castle – of the Philharmonic Hall.
I like this neat diversity of colors, so typical of the Luxembourg settlements.
The figure of the Donkey is everywhere in Diekirch.