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Les joyaux romans du Brabant Wallon...
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The current Saint Médard’s church in Jodoigne, dating from the 13th century, is a listed building and justifiably recognised as a jewel of Walloon Brabant. This large Roman and Gothic style building, listed as exceptional heritage of Wallonia, was restored to its original splendour in the 1970s.This church was built near the former church, which was bequeathed to the Order of the Hospital in 1180 by Gilles de Duras, and close to a former Gallic religious site.As soon as you enter, the hot and white Gobertange limestone gives the building its glow. From the wide transept, the eye is drawn to the semi-circular apse and simple polychrome statues, including one of the patron saint, Médard, an evangelist bishop born in 457, who had a reputation as a ‘rain maker’. If you stare at the statue of the saint you get the impression that he is smiling at you.
Pastur Castle also goes by another name: Castle of the Count.This is because the castle was the residence of the Counts of Duras from the 11th century. At the time it was just a small fortification set on a rock flanked by the Gette river and Saint Jean stream.This location provided excellent natural defences.In the 15th century the castle had already become a kind of seigneurial farmhouse and underwent several developments during the early decades of the 16th century. In 1730 the count of Romrée commissioned transformations that gave the castle its current classical style. Stables were built (the current Barouche Room) with the walls and impressive double ogival windows, dating back to the Gothic era and lasting to this day, bearing testament to the building’s history.The castle has been listed as a historic monument since 1971 and takes its name from the notary Philippe Pastur who was the owner in the 19th century.For a time the castle was used as boarding for the school of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart and the management of a school. Today it houses Jodoigne town hall as well as the public library and toy library.
Saints Martin and Adèle church is impressive due to its huge size and the brightness of the Orp stone. It is listed among ‘Walloon Brabant’s Roman heritage’. Along with the Collegiate Church of Saint Gertrude in Nivelles and Bertem church, it is one of the most representative and comprehensive sanctuaries of Roman art in Brabant. It was actually the abbess Gertrude of Nivelles who sent Adèle to set up a monastery in Orp.
A protected site on Wallonia’s exceptional heritage list, you cannot miss the impressive site of the old La Ramée Abbey. It is remarkably well preserved and serves as a reminder of the region’s farming architecture. Its spectacular barn (from 1722) is believed to be the biggest in the country! The exceptional size of this building, designed to store harvests, shows the extent of the land belonging to the ecclesiastical institution.La Ramée Abbey is today used to host events, receptions and seminars.It also has a fruiticum where more than 350 species of endangered plants are protected.The property is privately owned.
Belgium’s tallest Gallo-Roman tumulus has had protected heritage status since 1971. It stands at 15 metres tall with a diameter of 52 metres and dates back to the 2nd century. It was probably the tomb of a rich landowner and was placed along an important Roman road. In the past, communal festivals would have been celebrated on the peak and some events still take place today at its foot. For example, Gallo-Roman Days are held there at the end of May and feature many activities including a gladiator combat performance.
The St. Gertrude Collegiate Church is the pride and joy of Nivelles, with its impressive 102m nave with two opposing choirs and its 11th century crypt. This is one of the largest Romanesque churches in the world, an exceptionally handsome, grandiose monument that was consecrated in 1046 by Wazon, Bishop of Liege, before Henry III Emperor of the Holy German Empire.The Collegiate Church is still in use, regularly assembling Christians from the St. Gertrude Parish.You can also visit the crypt, the archaeological basement, the cloister and the central steeple that houses the bells and carillon.The southern turret boasts the Jean de Nivelles jacquemart, a copper warrior some 2.08 m high.The Nivelles Collegiate Church is a must-see. Don't miss it!
The single-nave church of the Récollets in Nivelles in Walloon Brabant, also called SS Jean and Nicolas, will impress you with its architecture and history. In fact, it is the church of a convent of Franciscan monks which was attached to it. Taken together, it constitutes the only monastery complex preserved in Nivelles, and is also one of the rare examples of Franciscan architecture extant in our regions. The Récollets Church is part of a remarkable architectural complex built from 1524 onwards using funding provided by Charles V and his aunt Margaret of Austria. According to her wish, the monks – who were established in Nivelles 20 years after the death of Saint Francis of Assisi (1226) – were attached to the branch of the 'Friars Minor Récollets' (Frères mineurs récollets), who lived in an austere and retired way. After the disturbances and demolitions of the 1580s, the church was rebuilt and experienced a long period of prosperity and an incontestable spiritual radiance until the end of the 18th century. Since the departure of the last monks at the beginning of the 19th century, the building was allocated for a variety of uses: hospital, hospice, Royal secondary school and courthouse. The process of listing the monastery buildings is underway. The church, which is heritage-listed, was restored for worship in 1960 and its restoration was completed in 1972. The play of colours of the blue and white stones highlights the great simplicity of the edifice, typical of the Brabant Late Gothic style. The soaring bays and powerful buttresses elegantly punctuate the single nave of this vast sanctuary. The only decorative feature is the Flamboyant Gothic style tracery that adorns the tops of the windows. The interior space, profound and luminous, leaves an impression of soberness and vertical élan. The keystone of the choir is adorned with an escutcheon with the arms of Charles V. A bay in the south side wall houses the reconstruction of the shrine of Saint Marie d'Oignies.