Beffroi de Thuin
The Belfry of Thuin is situated at the square Albert I. It is the preserved tower of a church, which was demolished in 1811 in order to create more space for the square.
Since the beginning, it was meant to serve as a belfry. In 1639, it was built by the town and the chapter. So it was both the tower of the chapter and of the community of Saint-Théodald.
Trilingual plates, films, cameras and much more tell you the history of Thuin and its belfry. While your ascension you can be led by audioguides, which explain the mechanism of the clock, the bells and the carillon. On the top you will find four niches, that allow you a clear view over the valleys of the surroundings.
The Belfry of Thuin 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.