Culture and Heritage

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Jean Del'Cour

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Jean Del Cour,  Baroque sculptor renowned beyond our borders, born in Hamoir in 1631 and died in Liège in 1707.

After short studies, he turned to the fine arts, drawing and mainly sculpture. He continued his training in Italy, taking inspiration from “Le Bernin”.

His major works: the altar of the Notre Dame church in Hasselt, the statues of the Saint-Jacques church in Liège, the Three Graces of the fountain of the Liège Perron. In Hamoir, you can admire a Madonna and Child in bronze (Place Del Cour), the oak doors of the tabernacle (Hamoir’s church).

A brochure and the itinerary of the Jean Del Cour’s walk are available at the Tourist Office of Hamoir or via download.

The roman church of Xhignesse

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Jewels of Roman Art Mosan, the church of Saint Pierre de Xhignesse was built in the 11th century.
This building is remarkable for its size, its architecture and the quality of its construction.
It has been restored several times over the centuries. Today, it is part of the major heritage of Wallonia.
For more information, a free brochure is available at the Tourist Office.

The Jazz

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For eight years, between 1959 and 1966, at the initiative of Joe Napoli, former GI who had fought during WWII in our area and at that time manager of Chet Baker, the village of Comblain-la-Tour has been transformed into one of the highest jazz venues in the world. Artists who performed at the festival included John Coltrane, Ray Charles, Jimmy Smith, Nina Simone, Stéphane Grapelli, Cannonball Adderley, Chet Baker, Woody Herman, and many others.
The festival was relaunched in 2009 on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the first edition. Since then, a host of artists have performed in Biron Park. These include: Steve Houben, Philip Catherine, Archie Shepp, Lee Konitz, Toots Thielemans, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Richard Galliano, Lucky Peterson, Eric Legnini, Tigran Hamasyan, Aly Keita, Tinariwen, DobetGnahore, Beverly Jo Scott, Pierrick Pedron, Chico Freeman, McCoyTyner, Esperanza Spalding, Marcus Miller, Bojan Z, Tchavolo Schmitt, Michel Portal, Richard Bona, Lionel Loueke, Erik Truffaz, Boney Fields and Angelo Debarre.

Due to lack of financial resources, it has not been organized since 2016.

A statue of jazzmen is in front of the train station.

The tower of Comblain-la-Tour

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The tour dates from the sixteenth century. This is a strong house that gave its name to the village. Over the centuries, the various buildings have been added and mixed with those of origin. It was built by Robert de la Marck d’Arenberg, his coat of arms are visible!

For more examples of information, especially at the architectural level, we invite you to read: A. Jadot, The Tower of Comblain-la-Tour, in “Les Echos de Comblain”, November 1976, No. 11, p. 84-85.

The Rocks of the Virgin

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On the right bank of the Ourthe, the Rocks of the Virgin once constituted a danger for navigation. The boatmen erected at this place a statue of the Virgin that they implored at their passage.

Climbers have been having a good time since 1930, but the state of the Rocks was worrying. Titanic works were organized by the Belgian Rebolting Team at the official reopening of the Rocks of the Virgin, it’s now accessible again. In total, 50 routes from 3+ to 8a + assist amateurs, 2/3 of them in 6a and more.

It will be recalled finally that the massif is classified Natura 2000 which means very strict rules applies to the activities in those areas.

The House of the Piercer

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It is at the turn of the Place Del Cour, dedicated to the famous sculptor Jean Del Cour, that one can discover this remarkable old building with the intriguing name. In reality, this name is linked to the occupant of this house, when it was bought at the end of the 19th century by the railway company. At the time, this house host a railway employee: the piercer. Ancestor of the current scorer, the stitcher was to point or “sting” the presence of workers on the site and monitor them.

Today, this beautiful building hosts the Tourist Office which will not fail to point out the activities and events essential for an unforgettable stay!

Moulin and Court of Justice of Bloquay

Located in Fairon, along the brook “Le Bloquay”, the “mill and logis” is classified since 1984. You can discover mill reaches, the outer wheel, all the internal machinery and the farm which houses them. You can visit this flagship all year round by appointment (rue du Bloquay 3, 4180 Fairon, tel: 086 / 38.90.29).

The Court of Justice (17th century) is located in the center of the village of Fairon. It fulfilled administrative functions and regulated petty crimes. It depended on the High Courts of Stavelot-Malmedy. This is an old fortified farmhouse, a remarkable group of old buildings that revolve around a quadrangular courtyard. Large barns date from 1781 and 1799. The paving of the road and sidewalks is pebbles of the Ourthe.

Please note that the Court of Justice cannot be visited.

Tales and legends

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The Priest’s Cross

This stele, visible on the route marked out in green, commemorates a local legend:

“On a Sunday of 1778, preparing to celebrate the service, the priest of Xhignesse noted that a sacrilegious robbery had been committed in his church. At mass, commenting on the boldness and skill of the thieves, he had these perilous words : “These ravening wolves must also be cunning foxes.” But in attendance were the three Renard brothers (“Renard” means fox in french). Did the priest insinuated he suspected them? in any case, it is what the faithful understood. Knowing that they had not only friends in the parish, they took the priest’s remark as an accusation and were furious.

When he heard of it, the abbe came to find them and told them that he had no suspicion about them. The brothers pretended to accept the priest’s explanations, and eventually parted away, but they remained insulted. They therefore planned a “perfect” crime and threw the poor priest into the tumultuous waters of the Amblève after knocking him out. There was, however, a witness who after being silent for fear of reprisals eventually told everything. The body of the priest was found. At the end of a trial which caused turmoil, the three Renard’s were condemned to perish in the execution of the wheel: the members teased by tongs heated with a hot iron, they were broken with hammers before being hanged. ”

To go further, you can consult the Brochure dedicated to the Romanesque church of Xhignesse at the Tourist Office. Sources: PETIT A., Hamoir-sur-Ourthe Illustrated Official Guide, S.A., Liège, Imprimerie Bénard, p. 83-84.

The bells of Chirmont

“Following road incidents, the bells ordered for the church of Harzé, which had been ferried to Anthisnes, could not reach the edge of the Ourthe, at the foot of the Chirmont, before midnight. Although put in a bad mood by this long delay, the ferryman loaded the bells on his ferry and rowed. In the middle of the current, as difficulties arised, he vociferated, sending “the bells, to the devil”. At the same moment, a flash of lightning tore the sky as thunder rumbled and as the boat sanked. It is from this day, according to the legend, that every Christmas, at midnight, the bells ring lugubriously at the bottom of the waters. ”
Extract from: PETIT A., Hamoir-sur-Ourthe Illustrated Official Guide, S.A., Liège, Imprimerie Bénard, p. 89