Tournai, city of art and history: discovering its hidden treasures
Located in Belgium, the city of Tournai is often overlooked by tourists who prefer to go to more popular destinations like Brussels or Bruges. However, Tournai is full of hidden treasures that deserve to be discovered and explored.
Tournai is known to be the oldest city in Belgium, having been founded over 2000 years ago. Its rich history dates back to Roman times, and the city was later occupied by the Franks and Normans. Over the centuries, Tournai has become an important cultural and artistic center, and this is reflected in its exceptional architectural heritage.
One of the jewels of Tournai is its Notre-Dame Cathedral. Built in the 12th century, it is considered one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in Europe. The cathedral also houses a treasure trove of religious art, including sculptures, paintings and liturgical objects. Be sure to visit the Cathedral Museum, which displays a collection of medieval artwork and religious treasures.
Another must-see site in Tournai is the belfry, listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. Dominating the city, this imposing tower offers a panoramic view of Tournai and its surroundings. Inside, you can learn about the city’s history through interactive exhibits and historical artifacts.
Stroll the cobbled streets of Tournai and you will discover many other architectural treasures. The Grand-Place is a lively place where there are beautiful Flemish Renaissance style houses. Rue des Chapeliers is a real treat for architecture lovers, with its 14th century stone houses. Don’t forget to visit the Bishop’s House, a magnificent example of neo-classical architecture.
In addition to its rich architectural heritage, Tournai is also a city of art. The Museum of Fine Arts houses an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures and ceramics, ranging from medieval to contemporary art. There you will find works by great artists like Rubens, Van Dyck and Bruegel. The Natural History Museum is also an interesting place to visit, with its collection of stuffed animals and fossils.
Tournai is also known for its festivals and cultural events. Every year, the city hosts the Car d’Or procession, an ancestral tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages. During this procession, a golden cart is pulled through the streets of the city, accompanied by musicians and dancers in traditional costumes. This is a unique spectacle not to be missed.
For food lovers, Tournai does not disappoint. The city is full of restaurants and cafes offering traditional Belgian cuisine, as well as international dishes. Don’t miss out on tasting the local specialties, such as mussels and fries, white pudding and waffles.
In conclusion, Tournai is a city of art and history that deserves to be discovered. Its rich architectural heritage, museums and festivals make it an exciting cultural destination. Whether you are a lover of art, history or gastronomy, Tournai will not fail to seduce you. So, don’t miss the opportunity to discover the hidden treasures of this magnificent Belgian city.
Originally published at Almouwatin.com