Top historic sites in Jersey

Jersey Museum

The Jersey Museum and Art Gallery is located in St Helier. It presents history from 250,000 years ago when the first people arrived in Jersey and continues through the centuries to explore the factors that have shaped this unique island and the people who live there. Find out why Jersey remained loyal to the English Crown despite being so close to France; listen to Jersey-French being spoken; learn about the Island"s ...
Founded: | Location: Jersey, United Kingdom

Mont Orgueil

Mont Orgueil is a castle in Jersey Island. The site had been fortified in the prehistoric period, but the construction of the castle was undertaken following the division of the Duchy of Normandy in 1204. The castle was first mentioned in 1212. The castle was the primary defence of the Island until the development of gunpowder which then rendered the castle ultimately indefensible from Mont Saint Nicholas, the adjacent hi ...
Founded: 1204 | Location: Jersey, United Kingdom

St. Helier Church

St Helier's Church, known as the Town Church, is one of the 12 parish churches of Jersey. Helier was a Belgian saint who lived as a hermit on an islet in St Aubin's Bay, about three quarters of a mile off the south coast of Jersey. In AD 555 he was killed by pirates, beheaded by their leader who feared his men would be converted by Helier's preaching. In consequence Helier soon came to be venerated by the Islanders, and e ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Jersey, United Kingdom

Jersey War Tunnels

Jersey War Tunnels, often abbreviated to Hohlgangsanlage 8, also known as the German Underground Hospital was a partially completed underground hospital complex, built by German occupying forces during the occupation of Jersey during World War II. Over 1 km of tunnels were completed. After the liberation of the Channel Islands, the complex was converted into a museum detailing the occupation and remains a visitor attracti ...
Founded: 1941 | Location: Jersey, United Kingdom

Elizabeth Castle

Elizabeth Castle was built to the site of earlier Catholic St. Helier abbey. The monastic buildings were finally taken over by the Crown at the Reformation. Surviving buildings were used for military purposes. The construction of the Elizabeth castle was started in 1594 when the power of cannon meant that the existing stronghold at Mont Orgueil was insufficient to defend the Island and the port of St. Helier was vulnerabl ...
Founded: 1594 | Location: Jersey, United Kingdom

Grosnez Castle Ruins

Grosnez Castle is a ruined castle built by Sir John des Roches around 1330. The castle"s purpose was to provide local farmers with a place of refugee from French attacks. The French captured however the castle in 1373 and 1381. The castle was probably demolished around the time of the French occupation of Jersey (1461–1468). In 1483 the Seigneur of St Ouen was allowed to fortify his manor house and it is unlik ...
Founded: 1330 | Location: Jersey, United Kingdom

Fort Regent

The construction of the Fort Regent fortress we see today began on 7 November 1806, during the Napoleonic Wars, with the laying of a foundation stone by George Don the Lieutenant Governor of Jersey. The fort was built using local workers and men from the Royal Engineers, with an average of 800 men working at any given time. This enabled the substantial amount of work to be completed 8 years later, in 1814. It was given th ...
Founded: 1814 | Location: Jersey, United Kingdom

St. Brelade's Church

The date of the present St. Brelade's is unknown, but it is mentioned in deeds of patronage. In AD 1035, Robert of Normandy confirmed the patronage of the church to the monastery of Montivilliers, which shows that the church was here before 1035. The chancel is the oldest part of the building. The original building extended some six feet into the nave. It was then only a small monastic chapel. Early in the 12th century St ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Jersey, United Kingdom

Battery Moltke

Battery Moltke was an uncompleted World War II coastal artillery battery. It was constructed by Organisation Todt for the Wehrmacht during the Occupation of the Channel Islands. The battery structures include bunkers, gun emplacements and the Marine Peilstand 3 tower, which are located on Les Landes, a coastal heathland area at the north end of St Ouen"s Bay. The bunker was left unfinished at the end of the war, when ...
Founded: 1941 | Location: Jersey, United Kingdom

La Hougue Bie

La Hougue Bie is a Neolithic ritual site which was in use around 3500 BC. Hougue is a Jèrriais/Norman language word meaning a 'mound' and comes from the Old Norse word haugr. The site consists of 18.6m long passage chamber covered by a 12.2m high mound. The site was first excavated in 1925 by the Société Jersiaise. Fragments of twenty vase supports were found along with the scattered remains ...
Founded: 3500 BC | Location: Jersey, United Kingdom

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.