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“Magical Christmas” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Castle Ruins & Velvet Cave

Castle Ruins & Velvet Cave
Daalhemerweg 27, Valkenburg, The Netherlands
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Ranked #1 of 22 things to do in Valkenburg
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Norwich, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
174 reviews 174 reviews
94 attraction reviews
Reviews in 94 cities Reviews in 94 cities
98 helpful votes 98 helpful votes
“Magical Christmas”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2013

Valkenburgh is an absolute delight at Christmas with all the streets, open spaces, shops, restaurants, cafes and bars beautifully decorated and sparkling with a vast amount of lighting. As we wandered through the paved streets we caught glimpses of the floodlit Castle Ruins which is quite a climb up to it and worth the effort. The castle was built in the 12thC, destroyed in the 17thC. Escape tunnels lead to the Velvet Caves.These with the Municipal Caves house the Christmas Markets. The Romans started excavations about 2000 years ago mining the marl to use as building material. There are wall paintings and plaques expressing the past and a guided tour is not to be missed. Although they are reffered to as caves truly they are ancient mine workings. We acquired a street map to explore the rest of the town.

Visited December 2012
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219 reviews from our community

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English first
Dublin, Ireland
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2013

Really unique place, the 'mergel' caves have their own history and played part in many wars as well.

Visited December 2012
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Bengaluru (Bangalore), India
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
16 attraction reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Christmas bazaar / Kerstmarkt”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2012

I went with my 8 year old daughter during the summer many years ago and during the christmass market. Both times we enjoyed it very much. The history of the caves is impressing and how they cut the stones out of the rock. The Christmass market is similar to others besides it is in a cave.

Visited December 2012
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Top Contributor
126 reviews 126 reviews
50 attraction reviews
Reviews in 58 cities Reviews in 58 cities
95 helpful votes 95 helpful votes
“Fluweelengrot special with christmas”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 23, 2012

We visited Valkenburg for the Christmas markets in the several caves. The Fluweelengrot is in our optic the best one, because you can walk a logical circuit inside the caves. In the other caves it was not possible to walk in a circuit and everyone walked in 'big mess'. It was very busy at the entrance, but logical because it was the weekend before christmas. The route inside was easy to walk and was much bigger then expected. Price was 9 euro for a combination ticket with the 'gemeentegrot'.

Visited December 2012
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Herentals, Antwerpen, Belgium
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142 reviews 142 reviews
122 attraction reviews
Reviews in 103 cities Reviews in 103 cities
193 helpful votes 193 helpful votes
“Well documented ruin of Holland's only hilltop stronghold”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2012

The history of Valkenburg castle starts with a single dwelling tower, built atop mount Heunsberg by Gosewijn I in 1115.

Because the stronghold occupies a strategic position in a region disputed by both the duke of Brabant and the bishop of Cologne it is besieged, destroyed and rebuilt numerous times throughout the Middle Ages.

The castle passes from the House of Valkenburg to the House of Kleef by inheritance (1207) and is finally sold to the duke of Brabant in 1364. Henceforth it is no longer occupied by knights and their kinsmen but by government officials.

In 1672 the Republic of the United Netherlands is at war with France, England and the bishops of Cologne and Munster. William III judges Valkenburg castle too strong a fortress to fall into the hands of his enemies and has it blown up on 10/12/1672.

Although sadly the castle has been thoroughly demolished the visitor still gets a very good idea of its layout and can even catch glimpse of its former splendor.

Throughout a well signposted tour about thirty information panels with drawings and a few scale models provide ample information about the history of the fortress and the various structures on site. A small guidebook can also be purchased.

The tour of Valkenburg castle starts at the shield wall which once completely surrounded the castle. Aforementioned wall was connected to the town wall and its south side formerly boasted two watch towers.

Past the shield wall visitors walk through a long narrow corridor (= barbican) before arriving at the entrance to the castle proper, formerly protected by a drawbridge and a gatehouse.

The south east and north west end of the castle proper were once reinforced by two mighty towers, the Wolf tower and the Mill tower. The former has disappeared completely. Only part of the latter is still standing.

The main (west) wing of the castle is the best preserved. The roofless chapel and knights hall still allow visitors to visualize how luxurious life in the castle must have been.

Little more than foundations remain of the side (south) wing and its staircase tower.

In the courtyard visitors can admire the foundations of earlier constructions, including those of the 1115 tower dwelling.

During excavations in 1937 archeologists uncovered a network of secret tunnels under the castle. They lead to the Velvet cave and were once used by the occupants of the fortress to sneak out for provisioning or surprise attack during siege.

The secret tunnels and the Velvet cave can be visited with a guide except during end of year period.

The Velvet cave has a historical interest of its own as it housed a secret chapel during the French occupation in 1794. Several cave walls are decorated with murals.

Visited December 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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