Tongeren, Tuscany of the North
Belgium ́s first city has become a great place for taking a city trip. Whether you like to dig into the distant past, seek out culture in every nook and cranny, want to see the latest fashion collections or surrender to gourmet delights ... Tongeren has it all.
Tongeren breathes history: from the Roman and medieval town ramparts to the impressive Gothic basilica and the charming beguinage that has been recognised as a UNESCO world heritage site ... In Tongeren, the past exerts its considerable charms.
And yet the city also stimulates with its modern spirit. Shopaholics enjoy the many trendy shops and hip boutiques. Epicureans sip a local Amburon beer on a pleasant terrace around the renovate Market Square. Connoisseurs indulge at one of the stylish gourmet restaurants.
Even on Sundays Tongeren is bustling: with the largest antiques and flea market in the Benelux, for example.
Or on the once-a-month Shopping Sunday, when all the stores open their doors and there are numerous activities for the whole family.
And then there ́s the Gallo-Roman Museum, selected as ‘European Museum of the Year’ in 2011 and recently crowned with the ‘Museum Prize 2014’ as the best museum in Flanders.
Step outside the apartment and dream away for a moment between the picturesque small houses and the plazas with a feeling of going back in time. That is the experience you get when you visit one of the oldest beguinages of Flanders. In the middle of the 13th century the beguinage of Tongeren, right by the Jeker, was founded as a miniature town within the town. The narrow alleys, beautifully restored premises, ... a little different and self-willed, a dreamed location for artists and ... since 1998 world heritage site of UNESCO. My house is also a listed building. I am glad to invite you to this 750 year old part of town.
The Ambiorix Statue
Ambiorix was the king of the Eburones, who inflicted the largest defeat upon the legions of Julius Caesar conducted by Cotta in 54-53 BC. It was the largest defeat they had known during the conquest of Gaul. In 1866, a statue was established for Ambiorix and was created by the sculptor Jules Bertin.
The Basilica of Our Lady
The Gothic tower of the Basilica of Our Lady dominates over the town and the surrounding area. It is undeniably one of the finest religious edifices of our country. Over 300 years were necessary to complete this magnificent monument. The interior is full of art treasures, of which the most famous one is without a doubt the walnut statue of Our Lady of Tongeren Cause of Our Joy, which dates from approximately 1479. The Romanesque cloister of the 12th century can be considered as a rare evidence of the Romanesque architecture in Belgium.
Opening hours: every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.– free entrance
Do you feel like experiencing an exciting journey through time? Attractive displays, magnificent objects and multimedia presentations bring the story of the people who lived in our region. The world of the Neanderthals, the Gauls and the Romans come to life again.
This museum is selected as ‘European Museum of the Year’ in 2011 and recently crowned with the ‘Museum Prize 2014’ as the best museum in Flanders. The Gallo-Roman museum regularly organises exciting events, exclusive exhibitions and fascinating workshops. The programmes for schools enthral young people in an interactive way.
Opening hours: from Tuesday until Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Nature Reserve De Kevie
The “park of the eastern Jeker”, which covers 200 ha, is situated to the South-east of Tongeren. Because of its favourable location and exceptional flora and fauna, the nature park belongs to the most valuable nature reserves in South Limburg. In short, a rare piece of nature in Hesbaye that should be cherished.
Through four signposted walk routes, fanciers can meet with all the aspects of this landscape. Organised walks for schools and associations are possible by appointment. Site: http://www.kevie.be/
Moeren Gate (Moerenpoort)
Brave knights and dutiful burghers, rich landlords and industrious vassals, Tongeren had it all. The rich Roman town made way for a medieval town. No less than three successive walls enclosed medieval Tongeren and little by little urban life with trades arose. However, dark times scourged Tongeren when the French count de Calvo appeared in 1677. He reduced the town centre to ashes in only one night. This disaster was a black page in the history of Tongeren. Not only a large number of houses had gone up in flames, but also a part of the art patrimony was forever lost.
Fortunately, count de Calvo could not destroy everything. Nowadays, Tongeren still looks a bit like a fortified town. Parts of the medieval wall are still standing and in places you can still see medieval towers. The Velinx tower is a good example of this. Tongeren once owned six medieval town gates, but only the Moeren Gate (Moerenpoort) from 1379 remained intact. On this solid tower you can calmly enjoy a panoramic view of the beguinage and the town centre.
For more than 30 years, Tongeren has become a lively town on Sunday mornings, already early in the morning. Just footsteps away from the apartment! More than 350 exhibitors and about forty antique shops display their best merchandise to the numerous visitors of the largest antique and flea market. On Sunday morning Tongeren becomes an international town and the place to be for a growing number of visitors from all over the world. They are all looking for that unique antique or flea market piece. The visit to the antique and flea market can be completed with a visit to the town centre or a visit to an outdoor café or a tasteful restaurant as a guarantee for a successful trip.
When: every Sunday of the year from 6 a.m to 1 p.m.
Who were they... these beguines? These women left their door to the world open. Neither nun, nor layperson. Did they hedge their bets or were they the forerunners of the feminists. Find an answer to these questions and visit the new Beghina museum in an authentic beguine’s house from 1660.
During a visit to the museum, you will discover the theme exhibition “Treasures of the beguines” (Schatten van de begijnen), a film showing “Beguines in the Low Countries” (Begijnen in de Lage Landen), a visit to the residential basement with a beguine beer, a museum shop and an herb garden. http://www.begijnhofmuseumtongeren.be