Fort de la Chartreuse, Liège, Belgium, April 2018

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1. The History
Fort de la Chartreuse is built in the Wallonian city of Liege on a strategic site that dominates the valley of the Meuse, which had been occupied by a Carthusian (Ordre des Chartreux) monastery until the French Revolution. The 1815 Congress of Vienna saw the former principality of Liège ceded to the Netherlands (Belgium had yet to be founded). Two years later in 1817 construction was commenced by the Dutch build a new fort, even more imposing than the previous ones, naming it “Fort Chartreuse” after the monastery of the Carthusian Order which occupied the site of the fourteenth century to the Liège Revolution. It was finished five year’s later in 1823. However, during the Belgian revolution in 1830, the large fortification was taken over by Belgian forces who then used the space as a barracks.

The fort ceased operations as a fortification by the military as far back as 1891 and was thereafter used as a barracks. When World War I broke out with the Battle of Liège on August 5th, 1914 saw the Germans invading the city. The fort fell two days later on the 16th, but only after the battle had turned into a siege with protracted bombardment. From 1914 to 1918 the Germans used it as a prison for some of the 4,000 Belgians they had captured after the battle. In total 49 people were executed on site and buried, and a memorial stands at the main gate in their honour. When Germany agreed to an armistice in 1918 Liège returned to Belgian control and the fort was again used as a barracks.

39608825280_702e1080b7_o.jpg Chartreuse Old 1 by HughieDW, on Flickr

After the onset of World War II and Belgium surrendered to the Germans on May 28th 1940, Fort de la Chartreuse yet again became a prison for the Germans to hold Belgian prisoners of war.

When the Allies retook Liege from the Germans in 1944 it was used by the Americans as a military hospital until the end of the war. It became less and less useful to the Ministry of National Defence and was demilitarized in 1981. The last military left the old fort in 1988.

2. The Explore
Set off for the 40-minute drive to the fort with high expectations. I knew the site was a big one and would take several hours to look round. Having negotiated Liege’s one-way system rocked up at the fort which was a walk-in on this rather dull and over-cast April morn. Two hours later I’d still not really seen all of the site. The place is pretty stripped bare and trashed but there is enough of interest to merit a visit. It is a very, very big site with loads of buildings, corridors and rooms. Didn’t see a soul exploring the fort’s various buildings, just the odd dog walker. I went back to the fort the following evening as we happened to be in Liege a stones-throw away from the fort hence I managed to get a far superior set of pictures of the forts main barracks bathed in sunshine.

Big up to Malenis for the intel and site plan.

3. The Pictures

Main gate to the heart of the Fort:

26496252517_dc2e8eb48b_b.jpg img6207 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And down the path:

41324683092_01d709382f_b.jpg img6208 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Nature getting everywhere:

26496254307_5f2572767a_b.jpg img6209 by HughieDW, on Flickr

First up – building ‘A2’:

39558024290_5261213353_b.jpg img6210 by HughieDW, on Flickr

26496256477_3eda877214_b.jpg img6215 by HughieDW, on Flickr

39558030880_0ccc36834c_b.jpg img6216 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And on to “A1”:

40670118814_64449b144c_b.jpg Chateurse 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Tunnel to the left of Le “U”:

40472632985_020b9ccd8a_b.jpg img6235 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And another…

41324668262_cb4403b5f3_b.jpg img6301 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40472610305_31f98ab29b_b.jpg img6289 by HughieDW, on Flickr
Externals of the “U”:

26513481577_d43d7a12e4_b.jpg img6452 by HughieDW, on Flickr

41384093911_409b5cf3de_b.jpg img6451 by HughieDW, on Flickr

26513474227_220b16f16d_b.jpg img6449 by HughieDW, on Flickr

La Lys:

39574722550_542d1952ea_b.jpg img6445 by HughieDW, on Flickr

39574717500_a575b5a211_b.jpg img6443 by HughieDW, on Flickr

27513846618_af2e86139d_b.jpg img6442 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40489068355_769d53aa22_b.jpg img6438 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Inside the Le “U”:

26496268937_7954a9b546_b.jpg img6238 by HughieDW, on Flickr

So many corridors:

41324676862_9aeffa5094_b.jpg img6253 by HughieDW, on Flickr

26496274397_ee7d6e5d0b_b.jpg img6243 by HughieDW, on Flickr

26496280607_41368869bd_b.jpg img6268 by HughieDW, on Flickr

So many rooms:
41367580681_7979c67696_b.jpg img6244 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And lots of staircases:

40472646885_f99e9f5d78_b.jpg img6256 by HughieDW, on Flickr

26496279157_6fafcdcf85_b.jpg img6258 by HughieDW, on Flickr

26513502457_1a14023e9e_b.jpg Chateurse 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Some parts gone:

41367581811_b87852b15a_b.jpg img6249 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40472649885_f5fa6c821a_b.jpg img6266 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View over A2 and A1:

40472651435_1f34d7973e_b.jpg img6272 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Round the back:

41341437112_30cb4a3313_b.jpg img6459bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

The Gymnasium:

40472648365_c2430f59d1_b.jpg img6261 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Nearby tunnel:

40472603835_ac8e088091_b.jpg img6285 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The Ecuries or stables:

26496282627_1a9ea8b16f_b.jpg img6277 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40472654385_bfb914f7b2_b.jpg img6278 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Steps to the newer and massive “Twin 2”:

40472655775_f3a4597726_b.jpg img6287 by HughieDW, on Flickr

26496284377_6832a0d59a_b.jpg img6288 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40653988684_409db60c4b_b.jpg img6292 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And on to Twin 1:

26496297047_ea234b4a73_b.jpg img6293 by HughieDW, on Flickr

27496401118_5b2f3798cb_b.jpg img6304 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40489098225_c2f6de9f0f_b.jpg img6456 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Bunker entrance:

41367599541_4df8bf8189_b.jpg img6294 by HughieDW, on Flickr
Last edited:


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Glad to see you managed to find more time to get round the place and a top set of photos too.

Cheers Malenis. It's a biggie isn't it? And so many floors too. Definitely a three hour job if you are going to do it justice.

Superb photos and a nice history with it as well.

Cheers Hugh. Very kind...

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