The Château of Val-Duchesse is a former priory owned by the Belgian Royal Trust. The priory for women was founded in 1262 by Adelaide of Burgundy, Duchess of Brabant, widow of Henry III, Duke of Brabant. 'Duchess Adelaide' gave her name to the place Val Duchesse or Hertoginnedal. It was the first priory for women in the Low Countries that followed the rule of Saint Dominic and was generously donated by Aleydis and other noble ladies. According to her wish Aleydis' heart was interred at a mausoleum today disappeared.
The priory further flourished and gained considerable wealth thanks to the generous gifts of numerous royal persons and noble families. In 1650 a wall was erected to protect the diverse edifices of the priory. The present-day château was built as a residence for the prioress in 1780.
Château of Val-Duchesse played an important role as a venue for negotiations in Belgian and European politics after World War II. In 1956, Paul Henri Spaak lead the Intergovernmental Conference on the Common Market and Euratom at the château, which prepared the Treaties of Rome in 1957 and the foundation of the European Economic Community and Euratom in 1958. The first formal meeting of the Hallstein Commission, the first European Commission, under the presidency of Walter Hallstein, was held on 16 January 1958 at the château.References:
Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.
Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.
The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.
Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.
Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.
The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.