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 on 30 September 1822. A transcription error caused the name of the site to be changed from Bois de Cazier. There were two shafts reaching 765 et 1035 mètres. A third shaft, 'Foraky', was being dug in 1956. At that time (1955), annual production was 170,557 tonnes for a total of 779 workers, many of whom were not Belgian but migrant workers principally from Italy. On the 8 August 1956, a fire destroyed the mine. Full production resumed the following year. The company was liquidated in January 1961, and the mine closed in December 1967.
There is a memorial wall to the disaster and a museum of mining and heavy industry. A workshop explains the art of metal forging. Around the two puits (shafts) the site has been landscaped- allowing views from the slag heaps over Charleroi.
Bois du Cazier is one of coal mines described as UNESCO World Heritage Site of Major Mining Sites of Wallonia.References:
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.