September 20, 2008
As the weather was nice (for once) I thought about visiting the Abbey of Villers la Ville. I had seen it once, but at least 40 years ago and didn't remember anything.
It is not very far from Brussels and even less from Waterloo. What I discovered then was absolutely beautiful !
The Villers Abbey (Abbaye de Villers) is an ancient Cistercian abbey located near the town of Villers-la-Ville in the Brabant province of Belgium. Founded in 1146, the abbey was abandoned in 1796. The site today contents only the ruins.
But contemporary accounts suggest that roughly 100 monks and 300 lay brothers resided in the abbey ! The lands attached to it were reaching some 100 km² of woods, fields and pasturages. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the abbey's fortunes diminished. The number of monks and the abbey's wealth disappeared and it was finally abandoned in 1796 in the wake of the French Revolution.
The Belgian state purchased the site in 1893 and launched a conservation effort. It was classed as an official historic site in 1973. The remains of the abbey can still be seen, including the cloister, refectory, kitchens, dormitories, and brewing house. I am sure the brewing house was the most important place for all these monks, they loved to drink beer.
The church, although in ruins, is an outstanding example of Cistercian architecture, with imposing vaulting, arches and rose windows.
You can read more here.
A little card showing you where the Abbey is located, between Brussels and Namur
The original Abbey as you can see it is very big.
The ruins of the church are covered with ivy.
The walls are very thick
The ceiling is very high
The construction of a railroad had also damaged they abbey.
An airplane picture of the abbey.
I think I don't have to describe more. The pictures speak by themselves.