Top Historic Sights in Charleroi, Belgium

Explore the historic highlights of Charleroi

Charleroi Belfry

Charleroi Belfry is part of the City Hall, designed by architect Joseph André in 1936. It is a perfect blend of Classicism and Art Deco. The 70-metre-high belfry can be accessed by climbing 250 stairs and was built using blue and white stone and bricks. It is crowned with a small bronze tower. The last three levels are reserved for the chambers of the 47 bells forming the carillon. Every fifteen minutes it chimes out a f ...
Founded: 1936 | Location: Charleroi, Belgium

Bois du Cazier

The Bois du Cazier was coal mine in Marcinelle, Charleroi. It was the scene of a mining disaster on 8 August 1956, when 263 men including 136 migrant Italian labourers lost their lives. The site today hosts a woodland park, memorial to the miners, the pit head, an industry museum and a glass museum. The museum is an Anchor point on the European Route of Industrial Heritage. A concession to mine was given by royal decree ...
Founded: 1822 | Location: Charleroi, Belgium

Château Bilquin de Cartier

Origins of the Château Bilquin de Cartier can be traced back to the around 1635, when the Honoré family built a castle on the Sambre river bank. The place had formerly been occupied by a seigneurial manor which was destroyed on 21 July 1554. In 1667, the unfinished Spanish fortress of Charleroy was captured by Louis XIV"s troops during the War of Devolution. As the castle in Marchienne was located in neutral terri ...
Founded: 1635 | Location: Charleroi, Belgium

Church of Saint-Sulpice

The Church of Saint Sulpice is a Roman Catholic church in Jumet, a neighborhood Charleroi. It is dedicated to Sulpitius the Pious. The oldest material traces of a religious building on the site date back to the 10th century. Three churches preceding the current construction were identified during excavations carried out in 1967. The current building was built between 1750 and 1753 in a classical style, by an anonymous ar ...
Founded: 1750-1753 | Location: Charleroi, Belgium

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Les Invalides

Les Invalides is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building"s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l"Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d"Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France"s war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte.

Louis XIV initiated the project in 1670, as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers: the name is a shortened form of hôpital des invalides. The architect of Les Invalides was Libéral Bruant. The enlarged project was completed in 1676, the river front measured 196 metres and the complex had fifteen courtyards. Jules Hardouin Mansart assisted the aged Bruant, and the chapel was finished in 1679 to Bruant"s designs after the elder architect"s death.

Shortly after the veterans" chapel was completed, Louis XIV commissioned Mansart to construct a separate private royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme from its most striking feature. Inspired by St. Peter"s Basilica in Rome, the original for all Baroque domes, it is one of the triumphs of French Baroque architecture. The domed chapel is centrally placed to dominate the court of honour. It was finished in 1708.

Because of its location and significance, the Invalides served as the scene for several key events in French history. On 14 July 1789 it was stormed by Parisian rioters who seized the cannons and muskets stored in its cellars to use against the Bastille later the same day. Napoleon was entombed under the dome of the Invalides with great ceremony in 1840. In December 1894 the degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus was held before the main building, while his subsequent rehabilitation ceremony took place in a courtyard of the complex in 1906.

The building retained its primary function of a retirement home and hospital for military veterans until the early twentieth century. In 1872 the musée d"artillerie (Artillery Museum) was located within the building to be joined by the Historical Museum of the Armies in 1896. The two institutions were merged to form the present musée de l"armée in 1905. At the same time the veterans in residence were dispersed to smaller centres outside Paris. The reason was that the adoption of a mainly conscript army, after 1872, meant a substantial reduction in the numbers of veterans having the twenty or more years of military service formerly required to enter the Hôpital des Invalides. The building accordingly became too large for its original purpose. The modern complex does however still include the facilities detailed below for about a hundred elderly or incapacitated former soldiers.