Little France on the Meuse River, the Fervent City, Little Palermo, the City of Charlemagne and George Simenon – this is part of the epithets of Liège, my favorite Belgian city. Of course, there are so many beautiful Belgian cities, but, you know, it is all about the atmosphere and the spirit that they are carrying.
Liège, or more precisely, the nearby Herstal is also one of the presumable birthplaces of Charlemagne, since it was a capital residence of the Merovingians and Carolingians. Well, I was there, a bit unprepared, but I didn’t see anything of great interest. The church that I found, marked as a cultural monument, was closed, and in Herstal, there isn’t a tourist information office where you can obtain information about the places of interest in town.
Although the more recent history of Liège began in AD 558, I want to begin with two historical characters that we already know – namely, Bishop Saint Lambert of Maastricht and his successor Saint Hubert. After Saint Lambert’s assassination, Saint Hubert translated his relics to the site of his martyrdom in Liège and built a mausoleum for him – the St. Lambert’s Church that later became the Liège Cathedral. So, it can be assumed that he set the foundations of the future powerful city – a capital of a prince-bishopric (from 985 to 1794), a university and industrial city. Cathédrale Notre-Dame-et-Saint-Lambert was a giant building with the largest church interior in the Middle Ages. In 1794, it was demolished during the French Revolution.
The present St. Paul’s Cathedral was a collegiate church founded between 959 and 971. Since the beginning of the 19th century, it functions as a cathedral replacing the former one.
The high altar is from 1894.
Behind the pulpit stands ‘Le génie du mal’/’The Genius of Evil’, or ‘The Lucifer of Liège’ – a sculpture from 1848 by Guillaume Geefs.
The Prince-Bishop’s Palace stands right opposite to the site of the demolished cathedral.
Its first building dated from around AD 1000 and was destroyed by fire at the end of the 12th century. The second one burned again in 1505. The present buildings are from the end of the 16th century, and today they are housing the Palais de justice/the Courthouse and the Palais provincial/the Provincial Services of Liège.
The courtyard with its 60 beautiful columns.
The Perron – symbol of the absolute power of the prince-bishop. It was placed in the past in the so-called Bonnes Villes/Good Cities – the most important cities of the Prince-Bishopric of Liège (we’ve already seen one in Stavelot).
Today it is a symbol of the city and is included in its coat of arms.
The Church of St. Barbara from 1719. Today it is a Greek Orthodox Church with the typical of an Orthodox church interior.
Another attraction in Liège (but not to me) is the Sunday “Batte” market along the Meuse River. The photograph is taken out of the peak hours.
The building of the Curtius Museum constructed between 1597 and 1610 in Mosan Renaissance style (see: Château de Jehay) houses today four museums.
This fountain nearby reminds me somehow of the infant Hercules.
The building of the central post office, constructed between 1894 and 1905 in the Neo-Gothic style.
Street art. A contemporary Hieronymus Bosch?
This is from Liège for now. Don’t miss the second part.
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