Photographer's Note

‘Villers-la-Ville – Villers Abbey’

A while ago Mariusz showed many photos of abbey and monastery ruins in England. They reminded me of a visit I paid in my younger years to the ruins of an abbey in Belgium.
About a month ago I decided to revisit this site.
The ruins of this abbey are located in the smallest Walloon province, Walloon Brabant, and less than 40 kilometers from where I live.
I was surprised that the ruins were a lot larger than I remembered and well worth a visit.

My main photo show the ruins of the monks' refectory and their workspaces.

Brief overview of the history, from

In 1146, a small group of 17 monks from Clairvaux Abbey, France founded a new abbey at Villers, Belgium.
A new building project began in 1197. The abbey became Gothic and took more than 100 years to build.
During this very wealthy period, the almost 400 monks in the community owned almost 10.000 hectares of land, stretching as far as Antwerp.
Villers Abbey covered more than 36 hectares.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the monks had to leave their abbey repeatedly because of invasions.
The 18th century was the abbey’s second golden age. The medieval buildings were reconstructed in Neoclassical style.
The Abbot’s Palace and its gardens were built.

But the French Revolution chased the monks away. The Abbey was sacked and pillaged in 1794 and then sold to a builders’ merchant, who dismantled it piece by piece.
Vegetation and rain did the rest... The Abbey fell into ruins.

In 1972, the ruins were classified as a historic site and monument.
In 1992, the Abbey was classified as part of Wallonia’s exceptional heritage. The whole estate was preserved: its 50.000 m2 of walls preserved above ground and its 5.000 m2 of Romanesque and Gothic vaults make it one of the biggest archaeological sites in Belgium.

PS: Villers is the name of the abbey.
Villers-la-Ville is the name of the municipality.

During my visit there were few other tourists, mainly three groups of school children.

Photo Information
  • Copyright: Paul VDV (PaulVDV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6910 W: 24 N: 16234] (63574)
  • Genre: Lugares
  • Medium: Cor
  • Date Taken: 2022-03-25
  • Exposição: 30 segundos
  • Versão da Foto: Versão Original, Workshop
  • Date Submitted: 2022-04-26 11:41
Viewed: 0
Points: 38
Additional Photos by Paul VDV (PaulVDV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6910 W: 24 N: 16234] (63574)
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