Discover the Amazing Castle of Bouillon

Europe - Editor - 25 February 2009

Discover the Amazing Castle of Bouillon

The large, rambling passages and rooms that one finds in an old castle tends to jog the imagination and excite the senses. This is certainly true of the Castle of Bouillon in Belgium, which is not only well preserved but which boasts a long and interesting history.

No one is sure exactly when the Castle of Bouillon was built. There are ruins on the site that date back to 988, but it is understood that the main parts of the current structure only really came into existence between 1050 and 1067 and that it was owned by Godfry III. The castle is situated on a rocky outcrop of land that follows a sharp bend in the Semois River – a perfectly chosen position from which to oversee the north-south passage between the upper and lower parts of Lotharingia. According to popular belief, the original structure was originally built by Turpin, Lord of Ardenne, but there is no way to prove this.

In 1082 Godfrey of Bouillon inherited the castle but it seems he had no desire to stay in it. Determined to lead the First Crusade and desperate for finances, Godfrey sold the castle to Otbert, Bishop of Liège in 1096. The castle remained the property of the Prince-bishops of Liège for almost six centuries before it was finally taken by the Tour d’Avergnes – La Marck family after a 20 day siege in 1678 as part of the war efforts of Louis XIV. Shortly afterwards it underwent its first changes under the guidance of the great French military architect Vauban. During the 19th century it underwent even more changes: the chapel and main tower were demolished and replaced with an arsenal and barracks. However it seems that some time shortly after that it started to fall into ruin until it was chosen as a tourist attraction and saved from further damage.

Today visitors to the Castle of Bouillon in Belgium will find that it is well preserved. It still overlooks the Semois River and the building’s design is characterized by a labyrinth of corridors that open up into massive, vaulted halls. It is open to the public all through the year though tour times do change according to the season, so it is best to check ahead and make sure that it will be open when you plan to visit. Entrance costs 4 euro for adults and 2,50 euro for children.


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