Here is a picture of the collegiale de Nivelles, the town where I live.
The church was built in early Ottonian-romanesque style and consacreted in 1046 by WAZON, bishop of Liege, in the presence of the emperor Henry III.
This large sanctuary is characterized by two transepts and two choirs, which is a specific structure of collegiale churches at the time. The eastern choir is raised above a crypt.
The mighty front building, called the Westbau, was constructed during the 12th century, it has an aspe, two tribune-chapels on the second floor, a 132 step staircase, a high-room, known as the Imperial Room , 60 ft. long and vaulted , an octogonal steeple (restaured in romanesque instead of the gothic spire destroyed in May 1940), a belfry with 49 bells (a total of 31.500 lbs. of chiming bronze) and two corner turrets. The southern one shelters JEAN DE NIVELLES the RINGER (Jacquemart), a 6 ft. 7 tall and 770 lbs. heavy guilded warrior carrying a hammer, this popular gentleman has rung the bell since 1400. Damaged durind WW2, the Westbau was restaured and the work completed in 1984.
Voici une photo de nuit de la Collégiale Sainte-Gertrude de Nivelles... la ville où je vis.
La collégiale Sainte-Gertrude est l'une des plus anciennes et des plus grandes églises romanes d'Europe. Elle est protégée par un arrêté de classement et considérée comme patrimoine exceptionnel.
Extérieurement, l'ensemble de l'édifice est remarquable par l'harmonie des volumes, par les lignes dépouillées et l'absence d'ornementation. Seules exceptions : le pignon sud du transept oriental, dit pignon de Saint-Pierre, qui présente un décor élaboré d'arcatures aveugles, et l'avant-corps occidental, remontant tous deux à la fin du 12ème siècle.
Consacré en 1046 par l'évêque de Liège Wazon, en présence de Henri III, empereur du Saint Empire Germanique, le sanctuaire appartient par son plan bicéphale au style roman rhénan de tradition ottonienne. Il comporte deux transepts et deux chœurs opposés.
Coll?giale Saint Gertrude is the main church of Nivelles and dates back from the 11th centuryAD, built in the romanesque style. Archeology digging in the crypt has revealed 5 previous churches before this one, ranging from the 7AD to the 10 AD, as well as the graveyard of early Middle-Age people. That includes one of the grand daughter of Hugue Capet, Ermentrude (10 AD). The cloister was renovated in the 19th century, and only the Northern side was preserved in its original 13th century style.The roof and the main steeple had to be rebuilt after the bombing of World War II.
Go inside the church and visit the crypt. Take a walk through the nice cloister, and admire the old bells and canons for diplay.
Visit is free. Guided tours for a fee are available at 2 pm every day.
A casual stroll through the streets of Nivelles will be rewarded by numerous historical sites, including:
The gothic church of R?collet (Eglise St Jean et Nicolas), 16th century
Houses from the 14th, 15th and 17th centuries
Old towers of former fortifications
The museum of Archeology, Art and History of Nivelles.
The Parc de la Dodaine
A delicious pie (quiche like) made with parsley, local fresh cow cheese and a type of salad-like vegetable (bette, or "d'jote" in Nivelles slang), and lots of butter! A must try!!! Do not forget a Jean de Nivelles or Chimay beer to go with it!
A recipe in french can be found here
Favorite Dish: Picture from http://dialogue.wallonie.be/05/Ctarte.htm
Nivelles is along the A7 highway, exit 19. A car might be useful to go around Nivelles to see everything.
On the picture is a typical street of Nivelles, even quite typical of Belgium, with rows of brick houses. The car on the foreground is American (!), a Ford Ka, a model only sold in Europe. You can also see a typical Belgian license plate, with red numbers on a white background. The numbers have no reference what so ever to where the car is from in Belgium.
Take a train from Brussels Gare Centrale, and in 30 mn you can be in Nivelles. Trains every hour. And you travel accross very pretty Belgium country side on the way.
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This parade is a middle-age tradition, still very well alive. The whole town follows around in a day-long pilgrimage the intricately decorated box where the remains of Ste Gertrude are kept. Sainte Gertrude is the protector of Nivelles and is one of the founders of the abbey at the origin of the town.
When? The Sunday following St Michel day (September 29). Every year!
Picture from the website below.
Bonne Maman lived in this little house for more than 30 years. These cheap little houses were built after the war and are still being rent. There are rows of them in this street, Rue de l'Aviation. The white painted brick is very typical of Belgium.
My Grand-Mother was born in 1899, and lived in Nivelles all her life, going through 2 wars. She died in 1995.