Leuven - Great Beguinage, a placid walk through the Middle Ages in Flanders

Great Beguinage of Leuven in Flanders, Belgium

When I was preparing the visit to the university city of Leuven during my last trip to FlandersI was really looking forward to seeing his famous live gothic town hallundoubtedly the monument most famous of this Belgian city.

Of course, I was not disappointed, but if you want to know what really impressed me the most, I have no doubt: Great Beguinage.

In my lasttrip to Bruges I already had the opportunity to walk through their beaterios, curious urban enclosures that have their origin in the Middle Ages, and of which there are still examples in various Flemish cities.

Great Beguinage of Leuven in Flanders, Belgium

But I have to recognize that the Great Beguinage of Leuven I was really impressed, and it was the great discovery of my visit to that city.

Known as beguineages, the beaterios are from houses grouped around a courtyard to small neighborhoods where single women resided (beguines or beatas), many of the wealthy class, who without becoming nuns, had a vow of chastity but not of poverty.

Specifically the Great Beguinage of Leuven It dates from 1205 and is one of the largest preserved in Flanders.

What to see in the Beguinage of Leuven

With an area of ​​about three hectares, it is a small walled town that stretches on the banks of the Dijle river and that comes to group about one hundred buildings with about 300 homes.

The women who entered the beguinage spent their first year in a common enclosure as a convent, and then already had their own home, where they lived alone or accompanied by another Blessed.

Great Beguinage of Leuven in Flanders, Belgium

The biggest heyday of this beguinage was during the seventeenth century, when they got to concentrate up to 360 beguines.

Subsequently the Beguinage of Leuven It gradually declined, and after the arrival of the French revolutionaries, the site became the property of the municipal institution and the houses began to be rented to the elderly and poor people.

As a curiosity, the last Blessed of Beguinage of Leuven He died in 1988.

During the last part of the last century the neighborhood was restored and in 1998 it was declared World Heritageby Unesco, along with twelve other beaters of Flanders.

Great Beguinage of Leuven in Flanders, Belgium

At present this neighborhood depends on the University of Flanders and it is a place of residence for teachers and students.

He Great Beguinage you find it in the southern part of historic center of Leuven, next to a large park on the banks of the aforementioned Dijle river.

When you cross the arch of the wall that encloses this neighborhood, suddenly you feel moved to the middle ages.

This neighborhood of narrow alleys, with a stone road and some squares and gardens, shows you houses with the traditional construction style, most of them built during the 17th century.

Thus, on its facades, all similar, you will see the red brick and the windows with sandstone frames, although some sixteenth-century houses that maintain the characteristic wooden framework are preserved.

Great Beguinage of Leuven in Flanders, Belgium

In you walk through the Great Beguinage of Leuven I assure you that you will have the feeling of living in another era.

In addition, my visit coincided with holiday season in the college, so there was practically no one in its streets, which undoubtedly contributed to enrich its historic charm.

You will also see the church of the beguinage, which dates back to 1305, in Gothic style but with Romanesque elements, all very austere.

Of course, don't miss the different corners of the beguinage, including the small river channels that wind between houses and alleys.

Great Beguinage of Leuven in Flanders, Belgium

In short, the place of greatest placidity that you will find in Leuven and an essential visit.

Pictures Beaterio Leuven

Here you have more photos of the Great Beguinage that will serve as an incentive to visit it.

Video: Leuven City Park, Grand Beguinage and Small Beguinage (November 2019).