Sunday in Tournai

Tournai Travel Blog

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The bell tower - Belfry of Tournai is the oldest in Belgium and in Northern Europe

This Sunday my son and I wanted to take another Belgian city into a close look. The choise fell on Tournai a city I had briefly visited before but which I wanted to come back to when I had some more time.

 

One the more spectacular items that strike straight when you get into Tournai is the Belfry Tower.  The Belfry of Tournai is the oldest in Belgium and in Northern Europe. It is built on the site of a tower of the first surrounding wall, the Belfry is divided into three distinct parts. Its square tower is strengthened at the corners by four buttresses above which 4 round turrets with pyramidal bell-turrets rise.

The cathedral is home to an exceptional heritage, including wall-paintings in the transept ( XIIth century), stained-glass windows dating from the Middle Age, which represent the separation of the dioceses of Tournai and Noyon in 1146
A gallery with a balustrade separates the tower from the slender and light campanile flanked by 4 small towers decorated with gilded banners and topped by a copper dragon.

 

It symbolises the right of self-administration and was erected when Philippe Auguste, King of France, gaveTournai its freedom charter in 1188. He granted to Tournai the 'Right of Bell' and especially a large bell called 'Bancloque', used to summon the population in case of danger.

 

Until 1827, the cold rooms of the Belfry were used as prisons. The present momuments is 72 meter high. 256 spiral stairs lead the visitor to the top and a wonderful view on the surrounding countryside is offered to the courageous. The Belfry has been totally restored and is equipped with a modern multimedia system giving a good idea of its history.

 

One the town square or the Grand Place a awesome building stands out – it is the Cloth Hall.

The Music Conservatory in Tournais
Built in Renaissance style in 1610-1612, this large building is extended at the back with a vast courtyard, surrounded by a gallery where merchants used to offer their cloth goods to the customers. The building was beautifully restored in 1998.

 

Tournai is located in the lowlands of Belgium, at the southern limit of the Flemish plain, in the basin of the Scheldt. Administratively, the town is part of the Province of Hainaut, itself part of the Walloon Region of the country. It is also a commune that is part of the French-speaking Community of Belgium. Tournai has its own arrondissements, both administrative and judicial.

 

Its area of 213.75 km² makes it the largest commune in size in Belgium; it is also the largest in population in Western Hainaut.

 

Tournai has the privilege of being the only city in Belgium which was ever English. Henry VIII Tudor, who claimed to be 'King of France and England', wanted to see his possessions and in June 1513, he landed at Calais with a strong army. He had concluded an alliance with Maximilian of Austria whose ambitions were greater than Henry's ones. Maximilian insisted on not going ahead southwards but on laying siege to Tournai first.

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The bell tower - Belfry of Tournai…
The bell tower - Belfry of Tourna…
The cathedral is home to an except…
The cathedral is home to an excep…
The Music Conservatory in Tournais
The Music Conservatory in Tournais
A part left of the old city wall
A part left of the old city wall
The Music Conservatory in Tournais
The Music Conservatory in Tournais
The Town Hall of Tournai. Located …
The Town Hall of Tournai. Located…
The Cloth hall a beautiful golden …
The Cloth hall a beautiful golden…
Eglise Saint-Quentin at the Town S…
Eglise Saint-Quentin at the Town …
Old narrow street
Old narrow street
Some of the many figures at the Mu…
Some of the many figures at the M…
One of the many figures at the Mus…
One of the many figures at the Mu…
The entry of the town square
The entry of the town square
A view at the town square
A view at the town square
A view at the town square
A view at the town square
The Cloth hall golden house at the…
The Cloth hall golden house at th…
The Bell Tower
The Bell Tower
If you see this sign you are in th…
If you see this sign you are in t…
A square in the old historic part …
A square in the old historic part…
Yet another church scene from Tour…
Yet another church scene from Tou…
A good restarant down by the canal…
A good restarant down by the cana…
Saint-Luc de Tournai. Art school a…
Saint-Luc de Tournai. Art school …
The entrance to Institute Saint-Lu…
The entrance to Institute Saint-L…
The entrance to Institute Saint-Lu…
The entrance to Institute Saint-L…
Signs with many countries were on …
Signs with many countries were on…
Tournai
photo by: Adrian_Liston