Top Historic Sights in Dinant, Belgium

Explore the historic highlights of Dinant

Collegiate Church of Our Lady

The Collegiate Church of Our Lady (Collégiale Notre Dame de Dinant) is a 13th-century Gothic cathedral in Dinant, on the banks of the River Meuse. The collegiate church replaced a 10th-century Romanesque church which collapsed in 1228, leaving only the North door. Its most iconic part is the separate 16th century pear-shaped bell tower.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Dinant, Belgium

Citadel of Dinant

The Citadel of Dinant (Citadelle de Dinant) was built in 1815 on a site which was originally fortified in 1051 when the region was ruled by the Prince-Bishopric of Liège. The citadel overlooks the city of Dinant and the strategic Meuse river which runs through the town. It is open to the public. Together with Huy, Liège and Namur, the Citadel of Dinant forms part of the so-called Meuse Citadels.
Founded: 1815 | Location: Dinant, Belgium

Notre-Dame de Leffe Abbey

The abbey of Leffe was founded in 1152 on the river Meuse in southern Belgium. Like many monasteries across Europe, the Premonstratensian (Norbertine) canons of the abbey brewed ale, starting in 1240. Using knowledge passed from generation to generation and ingredients found in the wild near the abbey, the canons developed a unique ale with a subtle taste and high alcohol content, brewed only at the abbey. The abbey has ...
Founded: 1152 | Location: Dinant, Belgium

Crèvecœur Castle

The ruins of the Château de Crèvecœur are located in Bouvignes-sur-Meuse, part of the Belgian city of Dinant. The ruin field can be visited freely all year round at your own risk. Already at the end of the 11th century, Godfrey I, Count of Namur had a fortress built at Bouvignes. His son Henry the Blind had heavy walls built around it. Archaeologically identified fire marks are associated with a siege of Bouvignes ...
Founded: 1320 | Location: Dinant, Belgium

Walzin Castle

Walzin Castle is located over the river Lesse near Dinant. Construction began in the 13th century, and the 15th-century Renaissance horseshoe tower with four cannon ports still exists, even though the castle was burned down by the French army in 1554. There were several restorations later, the latest by Baron Fréderic Brugman between 1930 and 1932. Victor Hugo made a drawing of it in 1863.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Dinant, Belgium

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Lorca Castle

Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Muslim Era

It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.

After Reconquista

Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.

Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.

The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.

The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.

Modern history

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.

Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.