Bouillon Castle (Belgium)

Wallonia     See list of castles in Belgio

Although the first mention of Bouillon is in a text dating from 988, there can be no doubt that existed for centuries before then.

Experts agree that the name dates back to the Gallo-Roman period. In the absence of conclusive documentation it is not possible to propose a precise date for the foundation of the castle. Historically commands the castle on the north-south passage between the Upper and Lower Lotharingia, those famous -avenues des Francais ,, (Avenue of the French), the natural way of all south-bound invasions until 1940.

The castle's history is closely parallel to that of the city and duchy, which includes three distinct periods:

1) The Dukes of the House of Ardenne (Godfrey was the fifth and last on the line) owned the castle until 1096, when Godfrey of Bouillon sold his entire duchy of Otberto, prince bishop of Liege (with the option to buy it back after three years). Otberto plundered churches and monasteries of their dioceses to get money to enable him to meet the disbursement of the first crusade. The Duke conquered Jerusalem and died there in 1 1 00 under the title "Defender of the Holy Sepulchre," after refusing to wear the golden crown of a king, "where Jesus Christ had worn a crown of thorns".

2) The bishops of Liege kept the castle, with many historical ups and downs, for nearly six centuries.

3) This value holds finally slipped away from them when it was usurped by the La Marck family. For convenience, the prince-bishops had delegated their powers to governors and in 1430 appointed governor Count Evrard III de La Marck, one of the great feudal lords of the principality. This family was restless, turbulent, ambitious and, above all, without scruples. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, the holder of the title family assumed the title of Duke of Bouillon in conjunction with the prince-bishop of Liege. In 1591, Henry de la Tour d'Auvergne, father of the famous Turenne, married Charlotte de La Marck who died without heirs. Because of this he inherited his estate. Therefore, without owning the castle, the La Tour d'Auvergne bore the title of Duke of Bouillon. Be as restless as the family The Marck have ended up with the city and the duchy handed to them in 1678 by Louis XIV whose troops had conquered them in 1676; This take-over of the title is officially confirmed by the Treaties of Nijmegen (1679) and Ryswyk (1697).

Throughout the eighteenth century Bouillon was a kind of oasis of freedom, until 24 April 1794 when the group of people (the Duchy had about 150 villages) proclaimed a republic. Then, according to the pen of a nineteenth-century writer, the Seine -The shark swallowed the Republican goby ,, the Semois. At 26 October 1795 the pure and simple merger of the French Republic (Department of Forestry) took place

After Waterloo, the second Treaty of Paris (November 20, 1815) engaged the ancient land ruler of Bouillon in the Netherlands. In 1830, after the Belgian revolution, the Duchy was integrated in Belgium.

The feudal castle was defined as a group of works created in relation to each other, he defended individually but kept united by the idea of ​​a common defense. This formula seems to have been written specifically for the castle of Bouillon, which illustrates perfectly. According to the principles of military architecture, each successive element of defense is to ignore the previous one. The experienced visitor will realize immediately that the Bouillon castle provides a good example of this principle, and will be impressed by the great number of gun slits and slots. The increase in a row on row, these form a formidable defensive arc, ready to belch fire in all directions ...

The artillery advent profoundly modified its feudal appearance. The adoption of this new weapon, the various changes made by Vauban, Louis XIV's military architect, and later by the Dutch contributed to its present appearance. Many interesting vestiges of the primitive defensive work can still be seen in its structure, though.

This is why our castle is considered as one of the most significant and best preserved vestiges of Belgium.

Images of the castle

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Useful infos

Latitude: 49.7925169
Longitude: 5.0628548
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Map of Bouillon Castle