Amphitheater Breechkaul

Useful Information

Location: South of Berdorf.
From Berdorf follow 346 towards Echternach. Turn right at Hotel Pérékop, some 400 m from the village. The road ends at a parking lot after 350 m. From here 5 minutes walk.
(49.815295, 6.356668)
Open: No restrictions.
Fee: Free.
Classification: SubterraneaRock Mine
Light: n/a
Guided tours:
Photography: Allowed
Accessibility: Not wheelchair accesible
Address: Amphitheater Breechkaul.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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~1000 first written mention of the quarries
1979 amphitheatre constructed.
2004 renovation of the place.


The Amphitheater "Breechkaul" is an open air theatre which is used for concerts and other festivities. It is located jn a forest where quarry works created numerous strange rock formations. One of those formations, a small cave or grotto which was excavated about 1,000 years ago, was used to build the amphitheatre. The cave is used as stage and backstage. The walls create an excellent acoustics while the forest makes this place really unique.

The rock here is suitable to produce millstones. It is most likely that the first millstones were broken here 2000 years ago by the Romans. However, written documents are not know, neither archaeological evidence was found. But most quarries along the Mosella have Roman roots. This is sometimes hard to prove, as the technique used to cut the rock was the same until the Middle Ages.

As this area belonged to the Abby Oeren near Trier, the church ruled that all mills belonging to the abby had to buy their millstones from this quarry. These are the first documents mentioning the quarries.

The name Breechkaul has German origin, brechen means to break, and kaul or Kuhle is a pit or quarry. But it has nothing to do with the quarrying, it is a term coming from the production of linen. The flax plants have fibers in its stems which were harvested by drying and roasting the plant, so the skin of the stem became brittle and by breaking it the fiber was released. This breaking of the roasted plant was obviously done here in this cool and shady place, definitely a good location for the hard work.

The place was "discovered" by a local teacher, Edmond Steyer, when he visited the place with his class. It was a typical school outing for many years to walk to this place, but other teachers just waited outside while the pupils explored the various caves. But he began to think about the original shape of this quarry, which was covered by up to 6 m of debris. And then he had the idea to creat an amphitheater in the bowl. He soon found another fighter for this idea, Jean Friedrich from the tourist ministry. After he had organized the permissions and some money, the place was cleaned and transformed into it current shape in only six weeks.

The place was inaugurated with a Hubertusmesse (St Hubert mass) which is held since then every year and is still popular. This is a mass which is held to remember St Hubert. He was a young aristocrat who was very fond of hunting, but after his wife had died he left his home and went into the forest and gave himself up entirely to hunting. When he did hunt on Good Friday morning the white stag turned around and had a crucifix between his antlers. A voice said "Hubert, unless thou turnest to the Lord, and leadest an holy life, thou shalt quickly go down into hell". So he became a man of the church and later the Bishop of Liège. He is the patron Saint of the hunters.

The stage of the theatre is a fine example of a millstone quarry. There are even some incomplete millstones at the wall, which were never finished. But in the surroundings there are numerous other similar rock formations, with artificial cliff faces and caves.