National Geographic : 1970 Jul
horse tethered to those of several trusted henchmen and ordering them forward. It was his last battle, and he died in the front line. A popular legend holds that his valor so impressed the young Black Prince that he adopted the Luxembourger's insignia as his own. The Prince of Wales today uses the emblems ascribed to John: three feathers and the simple phrase Ich dien-I serve. John is buried in the Roman Catholic ca thedral in Luxembourg City in a grandiose multicolored tomb, and he is still the coun try's most popular national hero. Mr. Koltz has been telling me not only about John the Blind, but of subsequent own ers of the fortress as well, and as he talks, we enter the Bock itself, which is not so solid a rock as it looks. It is, in fact, riddled with tun nels, large and small. The big ones, called casemates, are roomy corridors designed to accommodate cannon of the 18th and 19th centuries. The halls wind around the stony insides of the fort, with embrasures cut like windows so that the guns could be aimed out at the surrounding countryside. "Built by the Austrians," Mr. Koltz tells me, aiming his cannon-walking-stick out one of the embrasures. "They held the fortress from 1714 to 1795, and in 1734 they imported some Tyrolean miners to dig these tunnels. There are 16 miles of them altogether." The smaller tunnels are not confined to the Bock, but wind deep down under the city, a means of communication and supply when it was under siege. Most of them are closed off (though maintained as air-raid shelters), but a few are open to tourists; you can buy a ticket for 10 francs (20 cents). Fortress Had a Succession of Tenants I learned that, besides the Austrians, the Bock had been occupied, between 1443 and 1867, by the Burgundians, the Spanish, the French, and the Prussians-and that is an oversimplification. The French, for instance, were here under Louis XIV, whose great military engineer, Marshal Vauban, built the most important fortifications. They came again during the Revolution (1795), and again under Napoleon. Each successive occupying force added its bit to the fortifications, until at its peak the "small fortress" had grown to enclose 450 acres; it had inner walls, outer walls, and 24 massive stone forts. Eventually it became apparent to Luxem bourg citizens that their mighty fortress, far from being an asset, was in fact a nightmarish liability. For while none of the great Euro pean powers had much interest in seizing or ruling the duchy itself (it was, up until the late 1800's, a rather impoverished country), neither could any great power stand to let a rival occupy its fort. It had become a major factor in controlling western Europe. Finally, in 1867, the problem was solved in London at a meeting of European powers- KODACHROME BY TEDH. FUNK U N.G.S. Torrentof potatoes from a mechanical dig ger fills a bin in Heiderscheid. Production of potatoes helps bolster an agricultural econ omy that employs 12 percent of the national work force of 138,000. But the farm-labor pool decreases with a shift to industry. Those who stay on the farm absorb the land left vacant, and modern machinery handles the increased acreage.