Spent an interesting morning visiting the Abbey Church.
Founded towards the end of the 10th century by Count Ansfried and his wife Hereswint, the original Benedictine convent developed into a secular order in the 12th century. At its peak, 20 female canons lived in the community, performing liturgical services.
Until the 12th century, the church was a Romanesque building, of which the west part is the only remnant. In the middle of the 13th century, the church was rebuilt in Gothic style.
Much renovation was carried out in the 14th and 15th centuries. Between 1780 and 1788 the interior was radically modified: all Romanesque and Gothic elements were removed, all walls were fitted with neo-classical pillars, and the inside was completely painted white. The crowning achievement of these renovations was the construction of a new altar in 1785-86.
Entry (only € 3.00) includes a self-guided tour with a fully descriptive brochure, available in several languages.
You are free to photograph, but don’t use flash. A miniature tripod is really handy.
Just wander about town, looking for interesting photos.
Every turn offers a delightful shot; beautiful flower-filled gardens, nooks and crannies with picturesque shots, a small stream beside the town, whitewashed house on cobblestone streets.
I found it so relaxing, just drifting from street to street.
There were very few tourists about, so I had plenty of opportunities for some lovely photos.
The Abbey Church (entrance €3 entry) also offers some wonderful photo opportunities.
Every street, every alley and every square is a monument on itself. Here's what it is all about in Thorn, remembering the special history of this town when roaming around. Enjoy the special atmosphere along the terraces and maybe take a seat to enjoy a wonderful lunch or just a traditional regional beer (they are deliscious!). Be amazed at the basilic-church, where a graveyard is literally in the middle of town. Stand still at the cityhalls carrillon to wait until it plays and the listen to the sweet music that it makes. Make it a trip worth while by taking the time here and not rush by. If you do that ... you'll surely miss the personality that the South is so famous for ... living life the way it should be done. Here they understand that art.
Thorn and surroundings were dominated by the abbey that was the actual seat of power in this principality. Special was that it was a "matriarchat" as the abdis (leader of the convent / abbey that was also ruler of this little "kingdom" that belonged to the Holy Roman empire that stretched throughout North-Western Europe. The abdis had a very high ranking status in this union of many little states.
Little is left of the abbey, but the main church of it still stand as a reminder of it in the middel of Thorn. It can be visited and will show you a magnificent altar and some less shiny things in the cellars. Here they have relics and even coffins that one can see.
Next to the chapel of Trinity, to the east, is the chapel of the Holy Lambertus.
To this bishop martyr of Liege, founder Ansfrid once dedicated his abbey.
In this chapel one can also see this triplet painting from the 16th century called 'The Virginity of the Holy Anna'.
At the right are the ladies canon Anna and Cornelia of Lalaing. At the left painting you can see deaconess Johanna of Rennenberg.
The ladies are dressed in the choir dresses of Thorn cloister ladies.
At the frames of the side paintings are the 16 arms of Johanna of Rennenberg.
This painting is on the landing to the archive room. It depicts the adminsteration of rosaries (about 1645).
It is an altar piece, and it shows Maria with Child administering rosaries to the people that surround them, among whom the emperor, the empress and their son (of the German empire).
At the right are the souls that stay in the hell fire, waiting to be saved by the prayers of the rosaries.
After entering the church we followed these steps down (to the right) and we came to the oldest part of this church. It is a Roman crypt were, in the Middle Ages, the little children were brought in and baptized, for in those days people believed children to be possessed by the devil after birth and needed baptizing before entering the holy church.
Again a very peacuful part of this church. Never visited such a beautiful church before.
This is the view from the back of the church, where the ladies choir_loft is, towards the priests choir_loft and the impressive altar.
A marianum (two-faced wooden Maria statue) hangs in the church.
This Marianum was made in the workshop of the Master of Elsloo (early 16th century) and shows Maria as The Immaculate Conception and Lady as written in the Revelations of John.
Maria is standing on a lunar sickle. She treads on evil (snake with a woman's head).
It seems the abbey church in Thorn is one of the few, if not the only, with a crypt under the main altar.
I have visited crypts before but never found such a serene peacefulness, most of the time I found it rather morbid places.
The arched ceiling is painted white, there are some graves and there is information on the people that once used this church. In the middle of the crypt are some benches.
In the Roman crypt are two leaded glass windows made by Joep Nicolas.
This is Ansfrid (founder church), right window.