Alden Biesen Castle

Rijkhoven, Belgium

The knights of the Teutonic Order originally founded the Alden Biesen commandery in the 11th century, but the current buildings were constructed between the 16th and 18th centuries. It was the headquarters of a bailiwick or province of the Teutonic Order in the region of the Maas and Rhine. On 8 March 1971 the building burnt down and was acquired by the government and restored. In addition to the moated castle, the complex contains a church and gardens.

The castle is used today as a cultural centre and conference centre. Festivals such as the Scottish weekend or the International Story Festival are held there.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 16th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Belgium

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Martijn Tobbackx (3 years ago)
Beautiful historical site. Clean and tidy place
Yolanda Santana (3 years ago)
The floral masters yearly event. My daughter is a master European designer.
Bob Jackson (3 years ago)
Fleurameur floral exhibition.... Very much enjoyed. Inspiring, educational and beautiful designs and creative concepts. So much more than expected.
Sophie's Foodie Files (3 years ago)
The Grand Commandery is founded in 1220 by the German Order of the Teutonic Knights. It is a big domain owned now by Flanders, our Flemish part of Belgium! You can visit the castle with a guide if you like. The domain outside is big & beautiful. On the inside of the grounds , there is also a good visitor information centre & free toilets. There are many walks that begin in the grounds of the castle. We walked one. The castle & grounds are all very well kept & preserved. Worth a day visit! Often, there are events in the day or evenings! There is also an apostelhuis, a lovely restaurant.
Liam Schurmans (3 years ago)
It's so beautiful and peaceful and perfect for a long evening or morning walk. Bilzen Mysteries is also very nice.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba

The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, also known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba and the Mezquita is regarded as one of the most accomplished monuments of Moorish architecture.

According to a traditional account, a small Visigoth church, the Catholic Basilica of Saint Vincent of Lérins, originally stood on the site. In 784 Abd al-Rahman I ordered construction of the Great Mosque, which was considerably expanded by later Muslim rulers. The mosque underwent numerous subsequent changes: Abd al-Rahman II ordered a new minaret, while in 961 Al-Hakam II enlarged the building and enriched the Mihrab. The last of such reforms was carried out by Almanzor in 987. It was connected to the Caliph"s palace by a raised walkway, mosques within the palaces being the tradition for previous Islamic rulers – as well as Christian Kings who built their palaces adjacent to churches. The Mezquita reached its current dimensions in 987 with the completion of the outer naves and courtyard.

In 1236, Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III of Castile, and the centre of the mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral. Alfonso X oversaw the construction of the Villaviciosa Chapel and the Royal Chapel within the mosque. The kings who followed added further Christian features, such as King Henry II rebuilding the chapel in the 14th century. The minaret of the mosque was also converted to the bell tower of the cathedral. It was adorned with Santiago de Compostela"s captured cathedral bells. Following a windstorm in 1589, the former minaret was further reinforced by encasing it within a new structure.

The most significant alteration was the building of a Renaissance cathedral nave in the middle of the expansive structure. The insertion was constructed by permission of Charles V, king of Castile and Aragon. Artisans and architects continued to add to the existing structure until the late 18th century.

Architecture

The building"s floor plan is seen to be parallel to some of the earliest mosques built from the very beginning of Islam. It had a rectangular prayer hall with aisles arranged perpendicular to the qibla, the direction towards which Muslims pray. The prayer hall was large and flat, with timber ceilings held up by arches of horseshoe-like appearance.

In planning the mosque, the architects incorporated a number of Roman columns with choice capitals. Some of the columns were already in the Gothic structure; others were sent from various regions of Iberia as presents from the governors of provinces. Ivory, jasper, porphyry, gold, silver, copper, and brass were used in the decorations. Marvellous mosaics and azulejos were designed. Later, the immense temple embodied all the styles of Morisco architecture into one composition.

The building is most notable for its arcaded hypostyle hall, with 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble, granite and porphyry. These were made from pieces of the Roman temple that had occupied the site previously, as well as other Roman buildings, such as the Mérida amphitheatre. The double arches were an innovation, permitting higher ceilings than would otherwise be possible with relatively low columns. The double arches consist of a lower horseshoe arch and an upper semi-circular arch.