NOTRE DAME AT TONGEREN
WIENER, Jacques and Leopold: Belgium, 1846, Bronze, 50 mm
Tongeren (Tongres, in French) is the oldest town in Belgium, situated about 50 miles east of Brussels. In Roman times, it bore the name of Atuatuca Tungrorum and was the chief town of Civitas Tungrorum, an administrative subdivision of the province of Germanie Inférieure. Under the threat of the franques and Germanic invasions, the city was strengthened, and in the 4th century it was chosen by Saint Servais as the seat of a diocese. In Carolingian times, a monastery was set up there, and in 980 the emperor gave it to the bishop of Liege. An early chapter of Notre Dame appears at the end of the 11th century when it replaced the carolingian monastery. In the 13th century new ramparts were constructed and the church of Notre Dame at Tongeren was rebuilt in the Gothic style.
The Notre Dame (Our-Lady) at Tongeren, built from 1240 to 1541 is known for its 12th century statue of Christ. It also has a Roman cloister dating from the middle of the 12th century and contains some of the richest collections of treasures in Belgium.
Now, Tongeren is a small quiet city, which is a far cry from the metropolis the Romans wanted it to be. This ancient city has escaped from the modern ravages of the 20th century and still has a historical and architectural inheritance of incomparable richness and value.