Echternach was founded in 698 by St. Willibrord, who came from Northumberland in England to establish a Benedictine abbey, which thrived until 1795. His remains are enshrined in the crypt of the Basilica. The early medieval basilica was destroyed in December 1944 and rebuilt in a modern style. The relics of the saint are contained in a neoclassical marble sarcophagus. Behind the elaborate carvings, you glimpse the simple tooled-stone sarcophagus cut in the 7th century.
A few token traces of the original 7th-century chapel, founded by the saint himself, have been left exposed under heavy, modern repairs. On the ground floor of the basilica is a tourist office, with information about activities in town and around the region.