Presentation of the destination
The Belgian city of Tongres, also known as Tongeren in Flemish and Dutch, can be found in the province of Limburg. The city is saturated in history and is also thought to be the oldest city in the entire country.The city dates back to the time of the Romans when it was home to the Tungri tribe. While the Tungri inhabited the city, it was known as “Atuatuca Tungrorum” and was the principal administrative centre in the area. As an administrative centre, the city united a group of indigenous tribes during the the time of Emperor Augustus.The city was eventually taken over by the Romans and became the most important Roman city in the region. Those who visit Tongeren today can still enjoy the Roman influence from this time, including the city walls that date back to the 4th century and were constructed to defend against Germanic tribes.
Points of interests / things to see
Anyone who finds themselves in Tongeren should certainly make sure to visit one of the city’s most beautiful and important sites, the Basilica of Our Lady. While the lengthy history of Tongeren makes the Basilica of Our Lady appear seemingly young, the church actually has a history spanning over seven centuries.The bell tower on the basilica measures 64 metres and the whole building is a wonderful example of Gothic architecture. While the original bell tower was constructed in a Romanesque style, it was replaced by a Gothic tower in the 15th and 16th centuries, taking nearly 90 years to complete. Even though the first stone of the church was back in 1240, it is thought that a church had been in this site since the 4th century following archaeological discoveries in the area.While the origins of the church date back to the 13th century, other parts were added to the church in the 13th and 15th centuries, including naves and side chapels. When you visit the Basilica of Our Lady you should make sure you see the statue of Our Lady of Tongeren. The basilica’s treasury should be considered as an unmissable sight thanks to the huge collection of religious art, a must-see for art lovers.
If you wish to learn more about Tongeren and the Limburg region, you should make sure you visit the Gallo Roman Museum, which tells the story of the area from its very beginnings up to the time of the Romans.The Gallo Roman Museum is home to an incredible permanent collection of pieces and artefacts, with over 2,000 items making up said collection. The museum is famous for the way in which it presents its narrative. Those visiting the museum will appreciate the effort that has gone into making the exhibitions and displays accessible to people of all ages. The museum offers a multimedia experience, rather than just forcing visitors to look at artefacts in glass cabinets. Guests can enjoy watching films and the detailed figures that have been lovingly designed to make the experience all the more vivid.The museum’s temporary exhibitions are arguably as good as the permanent exhibition and in total there are around 170,000 objects in the collection. Thanks to the magnificent temporary exhibitions, those who have already visited the Gallo Roman Museum in Tongeren can visit again.In addition to the Roman history, the museum also includes Neanderthal and Homo Sapien artefacts and items and pottery dating back to human prehistory that began in the area around 5000 BC.
If you find yourself walking around the Belgian city of Tongeren, make sure to pass by the Medieval city walls, an outstanding example of the city’s cultural and historical heritage. One of the city walls’ most interesting features is the beautiful tower which is located by the beguinage.The tower was constructed during the 13th century and used some of the stone from the Roman city wall. Interestingly, the towers at the time were each defended by corporations around the city, which gave rise to the tower you can see today being called the “tower of the cloth makers”.When Duke Henri I of Brabant’s troops destroyed the city in 1213, it was clear that the Belgian city of Tongeren needed a new defensive structure. Just under thirty years later in 1241 the construction began on the new Medieval city walls. The walls were built around the city centre and the tower is one of the best-preserved parts of the wall for visitors to enjoy.Sadly, part of the city walls were dismantled during the 15th century and French troops destroyed a number of the city gates during the 17th century. That said, a visit to the city walls should still make its way onto anyone’s travel itinerary.
If you happen to be visiting the Tongeren’s fantastic Medieval city walls, you should be certain to pay a visit to the Moeren Gate, known locally as the Moerenpoort in the Flemish and Dutch languages.Following the destruction of some of the city gates by the French troops in 1673, the city was considering dismantling the gate, despite it having survived the attacks. In 1892 restoration works were completed on the gate by the city’s historical society. Just over sixty years later the Moeren Gate was restored a second time and converted into an arms museum. While the Moeren Gate certainly deserves a visit from anyone who finds themselves in Tongeren, you should make sure to visit the arms museum as well, which provides an interesting look at the military history of Belgium’s oldest city. The tower that houses the museum contains three different rooms and is a must-see for any history lovers in the area.The Moeren Gate offers more than just history to its visitors. If you take the time to climb the tower you can look over the fantastic city of Tongeren. Make sure to bring your camera for some magnificent photo opportunities from the viewing platform of the Moeren Gate’s arms museum.
One of the most beautiful churches in the Belgian city of Tongeren is the Saint Catherine Church. The church is also known as the Church of the Beguinage and was initially built towards the end of the 13th century in 1294. However, the church you can visit and see today has been altered, changed, and reconstructed a good number of times over the course of its 700-year history. The vault you can see today was built during the 18th century in a Baroque style and is a must-see for anyone who has made their way to visit the church.While the church is officially named the Saint Catherine Church, since the Friars Minors rented the church for a period of time, it also is occasionally referred to as the “Friars Church”. In addition to the church’s magnificent architecture, there are also plenty of things within the church that should be seen by visitors.The Saint Catherine Church in Tongeren houses a fantastic woodcarving and a collection of paintings that art lovers will certainly appreciate, not to mention the the exquisite Robrecht Verburgh pulpit, which was made in 1711. Visitors should also make sure to appreciate the astounding sculpture of Christ which was donated to the church.
When you find yourself in the Belgian city of Tongeren you should pass by the statue of Ambiorix in the Grote Markt. The Grote Markt is just a stone’s throw from the Gallo Roman Museum and very central to the city so you really have no excuse not to visit it.Ambiorix was one of Tongeren’s tribal chieftains who revolted against the Roman rule of Julius Caesar. Ambiorix was relatively unknown until historians in the 19th century rejuvenated his legacy. Around the world Ambiorix is perhaps more famous as being similar to the character Beefix in the popular Asterix series of cartoons and comics. However, the real Ambiorix was mentioned in accounts from the Roman emperor Julius Caesar.
If you love art you will certainly love the Musée de l'Art Wallon. While the building that houses one of Tongeren’s best art museums is hardly worth writing home about. While the 1980s concrete building is not to everyone’s taste, the art inside should please even the most discerning art enthusiast.As a Wallonian art gallery, the museum houses paintings by artists from Belgium’s French-speaking region, Wallonia. Some of the highlights in the Musée de l'Art Wallon are the Medieval Lombard and Paulus cavasses as well as the surrealist Delvaux pieces. There are also beautiful pieces from Wallonia during its industrial era including pieces from Meunier and Douard.
One of the most incredible sights for anyone visiting the area to behold is surely the Montagne de Bueren. You should be in fairly good shape if you wish to conquer the steps that make their way to the top of this hill. In fact, in order to get to the top you will have to climb nearly 400 steps.While the hill was once a citadel, the site is now incredibly welcoming and certain points of the route provide a wonderful views the beautiful Belgian city of Liege. Be sure to enjoy the hillside park which arguably offers the best views.
If you find yourself taking a trip to the nearby city of Liege you should certainly make the time to visit the Archéoforum archaeological museum. Getting there should take you just over twenty minutes by car and three quarters of an hour if you take the hourly number 74 bus from Tongeren to Liege. The museum can be found on the Place Saint-Lambert in the historic centre of Liege.The museum opened in 2003 and is located underground. The narrative provided by the museum takes visitors on a journey from the Mesolithic discoveries in the area right up to the modern era in the area.
Vacation rentals in Tongeren (Flanders)
How to get there ?
If you are travelling to Tongeren from outside of Belgium you have many options in order to get there. As Belgium is both a member of the EU and part of the Schengen Agreement, those travelling by land between other Schengen countries will not be subject to any immigration checks.Perhaps the quickest and easiest way to get to Tongeren from abroad is by air. The nearest international airport to Tongeren is the airport at the nearby city of Liege. However, there are not huge numbers of flights that land in Liege and unless you are travelling from France, Spain, Greece, Kosovo, Morocco, Tunisia, or Turkey, you will have to consider flying into one of Belgium’s larger international airport at Brussels. Travelling to either Brussels Airport or Brussels South Charleroi Airport can be done from almost anywhere in the world with direct flights from many major European destinations. There are also connecting flights available via some of Europe’s larger hub airports.Once at one of Brussels airports, travellers with their own vehicle or a rental vehicle can get to Tongeren in less than an hour. Those travelling by public transport can expect a more complicated endeavour. Getting from Brussels airport to Tongeren by public transport requires taking buses to Leuven, Diest, and Hasselt, before finally heading from Hasselt to Tongeren.
Hotels in Tongeren (Flanders)