Beffroi de Charleroi
The belfry is part of the town hall of Charleroi, which was designed by the architect Joseph André in 1936. It combines classicism and Art deco.
The top of the 70 m high belfry is accessible by 250 steps. It consists of blue and white stones and of bricks. The last three levels are reserved for the 47 bells of the carillon, which plays music of Jacques Bertrand every quarter of an hour.
The Belfry of Charleroi is one of the 32 “Belfries of Flanders and Wallonia” (Belgium) that the UNESCO inscribed onto its list of world cultural heritage in 1999. In 2005, the belfry of Gembloux in the Walloon Region of Belgium and 23 belfries from the Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardie régions in the northern tip of France were appended to the renamed list. Today this group is called “Belfries of Belgium and France”.
Built between the 11th and 17th centuries, they showcase the Roman, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles of architecture. They are highly significant tokens of the winning of civil liberties.
While Italian, German and English towns mainly opted to build town halls, in part of north-western Europe, greater emphasis was placed on building belfries. Compared with the keep (symbol of the seigneurs) and the bell-tower (symbol of the Church), the belfry, the third tower in the urban landscape, symbolizes the power of the aldermen.
Over the centuries, they came to represent the influence and wealth of the towns.