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Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

Tournai Cathedral.
State Party  Belgium
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iv
Reference 1009
Region** Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 2000  (24th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.

Our Lady of Flanders' Cathedral of Tournai is one of the most important architectural monuments in Belgium. It has been classified both as a Wallonia's major heritage and as a World Heritage Site.

Contents

History

There was a diocese centered at Tournai from the late sixth century and this structure of local blue-gray stone occupies rising ground near the south bank of the Scheldt, which divides the city of Tournai into two roughly equal parts. Begun in the 12th century on even older foundations, the building combines the work of three design periods with striking effect, the heavy and severe character of the Romanesque nave contrasting remarkably with the Transitional work of the transept and the fully developed Gothic of the choir. The transept is the most distinctive part of the building, with its cluster of five bell towers and apsidal (semicircular) ends.

Southern transept and towers.

The nave belongs mostly to the first third of the 12th century. Prefiguring the Early Gothic style, it has a second-tier gallery between the ground-floor arcade and the triforium. Pilasters between the round-arched windows in the clerestory help support the 18th-century vaulting that replaced the original ceiling, which was of wood, and flat.

The transept arms, built in about the mid-12th century, have apsidal ends, a feature borrowed in all probability from certain Rhenish churches, and which would appear to have made its influence felt in the northeast of France, as at Noyon and Soissons. The square towers that flank the transept arms reach a height of 83 meters. They vary in detail, some of the arcade work with which they are enriched being in the round-arched and some in the pointed style.

West portico.

Bishop Gautier de Marvis (1219-1252) had the original Romanesque choir demolished in the 13th Century, in order to replace it with a Gothic choir of much grander dimensions, inspired by the likes of Amiens Cathedral. The construction of the new choir began in 1242, and ended in 1255. The rest of the cathedral was supposed to be rebuilt in the same style as the choir, but this was never attempted, the only later additions being the western porch, and a large Gothic chapel which was built alongside one of the side aisles, whose original walls and windows disappeared in the process.

In recognition of the Tournai cathedral's cultural value, UNESCO designated the building a World Heritage Site in the year 2000.

Burials

Gallery

See also

External links

Coordinates: 50°36′24″N 3°23′20″E / 50.6066°N 3.3888°E / 50.6066; 3.3888

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