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I have three cards representing three UNESCO sites in Belgium today. The first two are from Lotty in Tournai, the oldest city in Belgium, which is southwest of Brugge near the border with France.

First, there is the belfry in Tournai, one of the Belfries of Belgium and France that were inscribed on the list in 1999.

UNESCO tournai belfry

The belltower was constructed starting in 1188 and expanded in 1294. It has been used as a belltower, watchtower, and a jail.

Tournai is a very historic place, so it has two UNESCO sites. The second is the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Tournai, which is the see of the Diocese of Tournai.

UNESCO tournai

The cathedral took a long time to build and therefore displays several distinct building styles in its different parts. Construction began in 1140 and continued all the way until 1700. On this postcard you can see the cathedral’s distinctive Romanesque transepts and towers on the left and the Gothic style choir on the right. The original Romanesque choir was knocked down and replaced by the Gothic style one, with plans to redo the whole cathedral in Gothic style, but that never happened.

Moving out of Tournai and into Brugge, I have this card of the beguinage in Brugge.

UNESCO beguinage brugge

The Flemish beguinages have been on the UNESCO list since 1998. They were built to house beguines, semi-monastic, Christian communities of women who lived together. They were active in the 13th and 14th centuries. They were like nuns, but they did not take vows. They lived together, prayed, and did good works. This card comes from Amina, who writes that the houses in this beguinage are still occupied, although one has been turned into a museum. I assume that the people living there are not still beguines.

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