Fort de la Chartreuse, Liège, Belgium, April 2018

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HughieD

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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.jpgChartreuse 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.jpgimg6207 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And down the path:

41324683092_01d709382f_b.jpgimg6208 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Nature getting everywhere:

26496254307_5f2572767a_b.jpgimg6209 by HughieDW, on Flickr

First up – building ‘A2’:

39558024290_5261213353_b.jpgimg6210 by HughieDW, on Flickr

26496256477_3eda877214_b.jpgimg6215 by HughieDW, on Flickr

39558030880_0ccc36834c_b.jpgimg6216 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And on to “A1”:

40670118814_64449b144c_b.jpgChateurse 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Tunnel to the left of Le “U”:

40472632985_020b9ccd8a_b.jpgimg6235 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And another…

41324668262_cb4403b5f3_b.jpgimg6301 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40472610305_31f98ab29b_b.jpgimg6289 by HughieDW, on Flickr
Externals of the “U”:

26513481577_d43d7a12e4_b.jpgimg6452 by HughieDW, on Flickr

41384093911_409b5cf3de_b.jpgimg6451 by HughieDW, on Flickr

26513474227_220b16f16d_b.jpgimg6449 by HughieDW, on Flickr

La Lys:

39574722550_542d1952ea_b.jpgimg6445 by HughieDW, on Flickr

39574717500_a575b5a211_b.jpgimg6443 by HughieDW, on Flickr

27513846618_af2e86139d_b.jpgimg6442 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40489068355_769d53aa22_b.jpgimg6438 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Inside the Le “U”:

26496268937_7954a9b546_b.jpgimg6238 by HughieDW, on Flickr

So many corridors:

41324676862_9aeffa5094_b.jpgimg6253 by HughieDW, on Flickr

26496274397_ee7d6e5d0b_b.jpgimg6243 by HughieDW, on Flickr

26496280607_41368869bd_b.jpgimg6268 by HughieDW, on Flickr

So many rooms:
41367580681_7979c67696_b.jpgimg6244 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And lots of staircases:

40472646885_f99e9f5d78_b.jpgimg6256 by HughieDW, on Flickr

26496279157_6fafcdcf85_b.jpgimg6258 by HughieDW, on Flickr

26513502457_1a14023e9e_b.jpgChateurse 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Some parts gone:

41367581811_b87852b15a_b.jpgimg6249 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40472649885_f5fa6c821a_b.jpgimg6266 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View over A2 and A1:

40472651435_1f34d7973e_b.jpgimg6272 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Round the back:

41341437112_30cb4a3313_b.jpgimg6459bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

The Gymnasium:

40472648365_c2430f59d1_b.jpgimg6261 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Nearby tunnel:

40472603835_ac8e088091_b.jpgimg6285 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The Ecuries or stables:

26496282627_1a9ea8b16f_b.jpgimg6277 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40472654385_bfb914f7b2_b.jpgimg6278 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Steps to the newer and massive “Twin 2”:

40472655775_f3a4597726_b.jpgimg6287 by HughieDW, on Flickr

26496284377_6832a0d59a_b.jpgimg6288 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40653988684_409db60c4b_b.jpgimg6292 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And on to Twin 1:

26496297047_ea234b4a73_b.jpgimg6293 by HughieDW, on Flickr

27496401118_5b2f3798cb_b.jpgimg6304 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40489098225_c2f6de9f0f_b.jpgimg6456 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Bunker entrance:

41367599541_4df8bf8189_b.jpgimg6294 by HughieDW, on Flickr
 
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HughieD

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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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