Lier - with all its beauty
Lier Travel Blog› entry 92 of 354 › view all entries
I had never heard about Lier until last week when I was in the Begijnhof in Mechelen visiting my friend who was serving beer in their yearly artist exhibition. Every year the house owners in the begijnhof open their houses to the public having each on artist showing their pictures, ceramics or sculptures. It is a great idea and there are a lot of people visiting every year. My friend had gotten the responsibility of standing at the beer sale which is not bad since it is the beers from Het Anker that they were selling; beers like the fabulous Gouden Carolus Triple.
While we were standing there enjoying some beers an artist came and showed his work which was aquarelles painted with motives from Lier.
Lier is situated only 10-15 km north of Mechelen so it is only about 40 km from Brussels. It is a fairly small but beautiful city which lies waiting to be discovered by those who love a friendly and pleasant atmosphere in a beautiful setting, rich in monuments.
The place was already inhabited during the Roman period and Lier had developed into a town near the river Nete, when in 1212 the Duke of Brabant granted city rights. The economic pillars where the cloth industry and the cattle market. During the First World War the city was heavily damaged but tastefully rebuilt afterwards.
In Lier you will find one of the most impressive gothic churches in Northern Belgium; the Saint Gummarus church.
The present church was built to replace an older Romanesque church that stood here since the year 1000. The tower of the Saint Gummarus church is the oldest part of the building, and dates from 1378. In 1702 the tower was raised until it reached a height of 80 meters. The architectural style shows this later addition: the highest part of the tower is more traditional and no longer gothic. The choir of the church was completed between 1475 and 1516. Nave, transept and side chapels date from the 16th century. The church was conceived and constructed by the famous Brabantine architects Anton Keldermans and Domien de Waghemakere.
Inside, the splendor comes alive.
This impressive construction is structured in the following way: it has five bays, the middle one being crowned by a chapel in the form of a pinnacle, decorated with statues. The vertical support consists of slender black marble pillars, richly decorated with statues of the evangelists and popes. This vertical element is very characteristic for the gothic style. Also, a part of the decoration consists of scenes from the suffering of Jesus Christ.
The stained-glass windows, the other architectural treasure of the church, date from the 15th and 16th century.
The windows in the southern aisle illustrate the Coronation of Mary. This entire set of stained-glass windows belongs to the most beautiful in Flanders. The windows of the second and third bay of the southern aisle are modern.
Another famous building in this city is the Zimmer tower with its astronomical clock from 1930. The tower is also known as the "Cornelius tower", which was originally part of the 14th century city wall. The Jubilee clock from 1930 was made by the Lier clockmaker Louis Zimmer (1888-1970).