The Belfry of Tournai, Tournai

#2 of 48 in Things to do in Tournai
World heritage site · Observation Deck · Hidden Gem · Landmark
The belfry of Tournai, Belgium, is a freestanding bell tower of medieval origin, 72 metres in height with a 256-step stairway. This landmark building is one of a set of belfries of Belgium and France registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List.Construction of the belfry began around 1188 when King Philip Augustus of France granted Tournai its town charter, conferring among other privileges the right to mount a communal bell to ring out signals to the townsfolk.The tower in its original form was evocative of the feudal keep, with a square cross section and crenelated parapet. It served in part as a watchtower for spotting fires and enemies. The growing city saw fit to expand the belfry in 1294, raising it by an additional stage, and buttressing its corners with four polygonal towerlets. A soldier statue was placed atop each towerlet, and a dragon icon surmounted the entire structure. The dragon, symbol of power and vigilance, also adorns other old tower tops in Belgium, including those of the Cloth Hall of Ypres and the belfry of Ghent.A fire damaged the building in 1391. In the following years, the city obtained new bells to replace the ruined ones, and affixed gilded decorations to the newly restored top part of the tower: mermen, banners, and a new dragon. The largest bell of this period, called Bancloque, and the fire bell or Timbre, have been preserved to this day. A carillon was added in 1535.
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The Belfry of Tournai reviews

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250 reviews
  • A very long day, after travelling into the Wallonia region, via Eurotunnel and then, Dunkirk by car - it was a curiosity to me that it was merely two days, off a year, since an evening in Dunkirk...  more »
  • Only 2 euro 10 cents to ascend around 250 stairs to get to the top with a very nice view of the whole town. Definitely worth it and highly recommended.  more »
  • Bellow average steak "du chef" at an average price tag. Decent but would not come back. The beers and the atmosphere are nice, but they are the same as any brasserie around.
  • Still under going a lot of work . Still stunning building
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