“Nommerlayen” means literally “the rock of Nommern”. This unique sandstone formation spans Luxemburg and has sheer cliffs, crevices and caves. The spongy rock was formed when limestone containing sand grains dissolved.. This happened around 200 million years ago on the seabed. Tectonic movements brought these sediments to light and erosion shaped the rock into its present form.
The history of the rocks does not end there. Primitive man recognised the advantages of using the holes as shelters and the sheer cliffs as impregnable fortresses. There are two plateaus behind the campsite that were used by the Celts and later by the Romans as a castle. Archaeological excavations are however prohibited.
The history of the village of Nommern was strongly influenced by the Nommerlayen. Nommern is a Celtic word meaning "town on the water" or "town next to the springs". Nommern has always had an independent council and had its own church and cemetery. The village of Larochette used to be part of the council of Nommern. The crosses that can be spotted between Nommern and Larochette were resting places for corpse carriers.
Nommern was famous for its charcoal fires. The inhabitants were called Kuelenbrenner, or charcoal burners. Large flat circles of 10 to 20 metres diameter can still be found in the woods.
Burning wood to produce charcoal was practiced until the end of the 19th century by the population of Nommern. Wood was covered and a chimney was built in the middle and the fire lit. Whenever the wood burned, the top was covered again except for some small holes. Approximately 10 days later the wood was completely burnt and had turned into charcoal. After a cooling period of some days the cover was carefully removed and the charcoal was ready to be transported to the iron mines in the south of the country.
The “N” hiking trail takes you through some of these flat areas. Spotting the former burning spots requires a trained eye, however. The hike also passes by the Aalbuurg, a Celtic-Roman castle. The Romans built two additional walls on the land side, now linear hills, where they kept their animals.
The cave next to the “N” route (see map) is characterised by notches. If you look up, you will see the date 1843! This gives you an idea of how long this region has been known for its beautiful hiking routes.
Experience this beautiful countryside for yourself.