Mansfeld was appointed governor of Luxembourg in 1545 when he was only 28 years old. His successful military career combined with his interest in antiquity help to explain what drove him to embark on such an ambitious architectural project. The site itself offered not only magnificent views of the city from the front and of rocks and forests from the back but above all water from the River Alzette was available for the gardens, baths and fountains. Indeed, with a facade some 200 metres long, the castle was set back against the surrounding rocks in order to provide a maximum amount of space for the gardens. The gardens were decorated with antique statues, many of which were Roman works of art found in nearby Arlon. The estate, which also included a hunting park had a 5 km perimeter enclosed by solid walls. theAlthough the name of the architect is unknown, he appears to have been from the Netherlands, perhaps an associate of Hans Vredeman de Vries whose influence can clearly be seen. Some sources maintain that the castle was inspired by Château Fontaine in Forest near Brussels.
Knowledge of the castle's size and appearance is due above all to period paintings by Georg Braun (with Franz Hogenberg) and by Joachim Laukens. They show the style was late Gothic with Renaissance influences.
Fall into ruin
On his death in 1604, Mansfeld bequeathed the furnishings of the castle to Philip III of Spain who transported all the works of art and antiquities to Madrid. The Infanta Isabella did not accept the legacy of the palace which was laden with debts. As a result, it began to decay and was destroyed during the siege of 1684.
- List of castles in Luxembourg