287,292 Pages

Black Tower
Tour Noire/Zwarte Toren
Part of First City Walls of Brussels
Brussels, Belgium
Tour Noir.JPG
The Black Tower, behind St. Catherine's Church, in central Brussels
Type City gate
Coordinates Latitude:
Longitude:
Built 13th century
Construction
materials
Stone

The Black Tower (French language: Tour Noire, Dutch language: Zwarte Toren ) is a medieval tower in Brussels, Belgium. It is one of the best conserved remains of the first fortifications of Brussels, built at the start of the 13th century. It is located behind St. Catherine's Church on Rue de la Vierge Noire/Zwarte Maagdstraat.[1] This site is served by the metro stations Sainte-Catherine/Sint-Katelijne and De Brouckère on lines 1 and 5 of the Brussels metro.

The Black Tower is notable for being one single medieval tower surrounded by modern-day buildings. This odd sight has made it a popular tourist destination.[2]

History[edit | edit source]

The Black Tower was built in the early 13th century as part of the first fortifications of Brussels. When the city's second fortifications were built at the end of the 14th century, its original function became obsolete. Historians believe it had by then become private property. This would explain why it survived so many centuries unharmed.[3]

In the 16th century, unlike other sections of the wall, the tower survived the creation of a new dock for the inland port of Brussels on the site where St. Catherine's Church is now located.[4] Around the same time, it was transformed into a tavern named In the Tower. In 1888, when the entire street was sanitised, then-mayor Charles Buls saved the tower from demolition.[5] Architect Victor Jamaer restored the building and reconstructed the gable and the roof, as well as the bent radius.[6] In the 19th century, it was surrounded by a clothing store.

On 1 February 1937, it officially became a state's building and was classified as a historical monument.[7] Nowadays it is surrounded by a hotel with modern-day supplies.[8] A plaque reminds passers-by of its historical importance.[9]

In popular culture[edit | edit source]

The tower is subject of an album in the Belgian comic book series The Adventures of Nero by Marc Sleen.[10] In the story De Zwarte Toren ("The Black Tower") (1983) Nero visits Brussels and discovers mysterious things going on in the Black Tower.[11] Based on this story the proprietors of the Marc Sleen Museum made it part of a special Nero route, which takes visitors to several parts of Brussels that play an important role in certain Nero albums.[12]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Archived copy". http://www.opt.be/informations/tourist-attractions-bruxelles-remains-of-the-first-fortification-in-brussels/en/V/62883.html. 
  2. "Archived copy". http://www.opt.be/informations/tourist-attractions-bruxelles-remains-of-the-first-fortification-in-brussels/en/V/62883.html. 
  3. "Le Patrimoine monumental de la Belgique", Bruxelles, volume 1C, Pentagone N-Z, Pierre Mardaga éditeur, 1994, p. 329.
  4. https://visit.brussels/en/place/Tour-Noire
  5. "Le Patrimoine monumental de la Belgique", Bruxelles, volume 1C, Pentagone N-Z, Pierre Mardaga éditeur, 1994, p. 329.
  6. "Le Patrimoine monumental de la Belgique", Bruxelles, volume 1C, Pentagone N-Z, Pierre Mardaga éditeur, 1994, p. 329.
  7. "Le Patrimoine monumental de la Belgique", Bruxelles, volume 1C, Pentagone N-Z, Pierre Mardaga éditeur, 1994, p. 329.
  8. "Archived copy". http://www.opt.be/informations/tourist-attractions-bruxelles-remains-of-the-first-fortification-in-brussels/en/V/62883.html. 
  9. http://www.brusselsremembers.com/memorials/black-tower
  10. http://www.stripinfo.be/strip.php?strip=20012
  11. http://www.marc-sleen.be/fichiers/nerowandeling.pdf Archived 2015-07-14 at the Wayback Machine., page 18.
  12. http://www.knack.be/nieuws/boeken/brussel-krijgt-nerowandeling/article-normal-28750.html

Sources[edit | edit source]

  • "Le Patrimoine monumental de la Belgique", Bruxelles, volume 1C, Pentagone N-Z, Pierre Mardaga éditeur, 1994, p. 329.

Coordinates: 50°51′03″N 4°20′59″E / 50.8508°N 4.3497°E / 50.8508; 4.3497

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.