Written by Zhebiton on 10 Feb, 2011
Namur is located at the confluence of the rivers Meuse and Sambre, where the first human settlements date back to the Mesolithic. A plot of land near the confluence, reminiscent of the shape of pigs, was named Grognon and marked the beginning of urban development…Read More
Namur is located at the confluence of the rivers Meuse and Sambre, where the first human settlements date back to the Mesolithic. A plot of land near the confluence, reminiscent of the shape of pigs, was named Grognon and marked the beginning of urban development in the IV-X centuries. In the X century at the top of the rock was built a watchtower, and later formed around the Count's castle. In 1421, the county bought the Duke of Burgundy, Philip the Good. And in 1506 Namur goes to the Spanish Netherlands. At this time, Namur has been repeatedly attacked, therefore, despite its long history in the city are not so many old buildings. In 1692, after a remarkable siege of the city goes to the French King Louis XIV. At this time, besides the existing walls, built a defensive shaft according to the prominent military architect Vauban. Only since the end of the XVII century began an active urban infrastructure, as evidenced by the rich architectural heritage of the XVIII century in the style of Mosan, characterized by a combination of brick with blue limestone (local stone). Among the surrounding buildings stands the majestic Cathedral of St.. Alban, was rebuilt by Italian architect Gaetano Pizzoni in the years 1751-1767 on the ruins in 1740 in Romanesque churches, as a result of flooding.Provincial Palace (or the Governor's Palace) in the classical style was built in 1728-1732 years as a bishop's palace, but after the French Revolution gained administrative value.In olden times the square of Arms were executed. A dominant area until 1914 was the Town Hall. However, during the First World War, the town hall and adjacent houses were destroyed, a new area was rebuilt in 1923. Now the area is primarily attracted the attention of the old Stock Exchange building, built in renaissance style in 1932.Theatre Royal is one of the last theaters in Europe equipped with Italian-style (XIX century), After the fire, the theater was rebuilt in sandstone, rare material for Namur.The first fort at this place was built by the Romans back in the III-IV centuries for the protection of the Meuse valley from the Germanic tribes. Later in the X century Earl Namyursky on site of Roman ruins erected a wooden guard tower, which in subsequent years, overgrown fortifications. So in the years 1235-1245 was built the new stone fort, which was expanded in the XIV century. Charles V of Habsburg in the years 1542-1555 has improved strength, so that in the years to enable it to act like a real city. In the XVII century fortress walls have been doubled so that the fort became one of the most fortified buildings in Europe. Only in the XIX century, most of the fortress walls were destroyed by order of Napoleon, as it lost its defensive significance, being in the depths of the empire. On the opposite bank of the Sambre, under the walls of the citadel is a building of the Parliament of Wallonia and the Hospice Saint-Gilles. Hospital building, based in the Middle Ages gave way to a few titles, while in the XVIII century, it is not located Hospice Saint-Gilles. This charity was of paramount importance in the social life of Namur, taking the poor, the sick, orphans and elderly people without the means to sustain life. Two of the buildings constructed in the XVI-XVII centuries, retain their importance today. Basically the same building, built in 1668 of brick and limestone and was recently renovated, is now housed parliament of Walon. Close
Written by Irene on 18 May, 2004
Perched on a wooded hilltop with only the lofty twin spires of the Cathedral to announce its discovery, Abbey de Maredsous reigns proud over the Monlignee Valley in southern Belgium. Founded November 15, 1872 by Hildebrand de Hemptinne, the Benedictine abbey is renown for it’s…Read More
Perched on a wooded hilltop with only the lofty twin spires of the Cathedral to announce its discovery, Abbey de Maredsous reigns proud over the Monlignee Valley in southern Belgium. Founded November 15, 1872 by Hildebrand de Hemptinne, the Benedictine abbey is renown for it’s own production of beer, bread, cheese, and ceramics. However the classic neo-gothic beauty of the towering Cathedral and Cloister can at moments overshadow these accomplishments.
After a leisurely tour of St. Joseph Visitor Center and spacious grounds, we returned to admire the mammoth structure, Benedictine Abbaye Maredsous. From the car park left the sober gray walls of the cloister lead to the twin grand towers guarding the entrance. High above the double wooden doors a row of saints and angels stood vigil. Inside, we could not help but feel the presence of the Almighty in such grandeur. I felt small, dwarfed by the height and sobriety. Austerity overwhelmed us. Huge arches and columns held up somber gray and white stone, while above the altar columns of stain glass sparkled. In 1955-58 all neo-gothic ornamentation was removed except the stain glass and this only brought more emphasis to the stark expansive sanctuary. I only wished I had a chance to see the unaltered Cathedral. Small chapels opened on each side of the long nave and the right lead to the enclosed cloister. Peace reigned here and I felt I needed to know who inhabited this wondrous place.
Who are these people who pray and live here? "A community of Benedictine Monks brought together around the gospel, The Rule of St. Benedict and the people who want to make this place live to make it attractive for everybody: hosts, pilgrims, pupils, passersby and surfers", says Father Benard Lorent, Abbot of Maredsous on the Abbey’s website. St Benedict offered a program of life, including prayer, work and community for anyone searching for God.
Surrounding the Abbey and Cloister are a College specializing in languages and a Guesthouse. Not a hotel, but a guesthouse for groups or individuals that are looking for a retreat. Accommodations are basic, with facilities on each floor and forget the TV, telephone, and room service. Scattered about the hills are cabins and chalets, available for youth groups, church retreats, or reflective guests. Guests can also take their meals with the monks in silence, except for the reading of the day. Talking meals are available in the giant cafeteria in the Visitor Center.
Need time for reflection? A restful garden with fountain inhabits the enclosed cloister and nature walks meander through out the lush grounds. Monks even offer guided walks. All are welcome to join the Monks for daily prayers beginning in the early morning, through out the day and the end of the day. All guests are welcome as Christ. All this and they make beer too, as well as bread, cheese, and ceramics. Maredsous Cheese, semi-hard, mellow and slightly fruity has 7 styles including double cream and Light. Nothing is better with Maredsous Cheese than fresh baked bread and they make it every day, behind the Abbey next to the dairy.
Cathedral Maredsous is open every day and late on Sunday. March-October 9-6, Nov.-Feb.10-6, Sunday 9-7. Access is free and as is the parking. Brochures, and pamphlets in French and Dutch, are available in the foyer of the Cathedral alongside an impressive display of photos of the construction and later the removal of the ornamentation. English information will be furnished on request. website www.maredsous.com