Saint Gertrude's was an Augustine abbey, limited to 12 canons of noble descent. The church was built from the 14th to the 16th century. The tower has an openwork spire, dating from 1453. Inside is an 18th century carillon.
The abbey was closed in 1796 (during French occupation) and the buildings got other uses. In 1919 it became a Benedictine abbey. Reconstructions were carried out after the fire during World War II. The abbey grounds (compound outside the church) at present has mixed uses, and is like a little pleasant park to hang out or have a quiet rest.
During the second world war, the church (as many others in Leuven) was seriously damaged. The artistic choir stalls seemed beyond repair. Fortunately photographs existed. After the war, the stalls were recreated by sculptors, who did an excellent job. The choir with its many wooden sculptures is now one of Leuven's most outstanding works of art. One can distinguish between original parts and later parts by judging the colors of the wood, the older parts being darker.References:
The eight towns in south-eastern Sicily, including Ragusa, were all rebuilt after 1693 on or beside towns existing at the time of the earthquake which took place in that year. They represent a considerable collective undertaking, successfully carried out at a high level of architectural and artistic achievement. Keeping within the late Baroque style of the day, they also depict distinctive innovations in town planning and urban building. Together with seven other cities in the Val di Noto, it is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In 1693 Ragusa was devastated by a huge earthquake, which killed some 5,000 inhabitants. Following this catastrophe the city was largely rebuilt, and many Baroque buildings from this time remain in the city. Most of the population moved to a new settlement in the former district of Patro, calling this new municipality 'Ragusa Superiore' (Upper Ragusa) and the ancient city 'Ragusa Inferiore' (Lower Ragusa). The two cities remained separated until 1926, when they were fused together to become a provincial capital in 1927.