BYZANTIUM

BYZANTIUM

The economic expansion in the first half of the 19th century, and in particular the construction of a new railway line, led to spectacular population growth in this neighborhood. The parish chapel, where until then the worship services for this parish were held, quickly became too small for the 18,000-soul parish. There was a need for a new, spacious church. The city architect drew the plans, but after disagreement about the stability they were carried out in a simplified form by the city’s building master. The works started in the mid-1850s. Thirteen years later, the church was inaugurated, even though she was unfinished at that moment and would remain so. The tower that had to crown the church on the west side never came.

The style of the church, the so-called ‘Rundbogenstil’, is eclectic with a dominance of Romanesque and Gothic elements. The round arch windows have Romanesque design and Gothic tracery. Groundbreaking in ecclesiastical architecture is the use of cast iron for the main ribs and the three-step arches. The biggest innovation in this is the roof span with two iron polonceauspants, per bay. This roof truss is made up of two under-stressed triangular beams, which are connected by a drawbar. The interior is also predominantly neo-Roman with neo-Gothic decorative elements. The monumental murals, which took more time to paint than the construction of the church itself, give this spectacularly beautiful church an oriental-Byzantine atmosphere.

After having fallen in disuse almost two decades ago, the city has now decided to sell the church to a project developer. Since the whole church and its interior are protected as cultural heritage, the possibilities for another use of the building are rather limited…


EGLISE DES CAUSES DESESPERES

EGLISE DES CAUSES DESESPERES

The “church of desperate causes” is a truely appropriate ‘urbex’ name for this desecrated church. The building, which was once so important for this small community, is in a very lamentable condition. It was not for naught that it was declared inaccessible by the fire brigade. It feels like you might get some debris  on your head at any give moment. Since 2010 there have been rumors that the church would be demolished, but by mid-2018 it is still deteriorating. The church was built in Romanesque style in 1921 for the ever-growing miners’ population, mainly from Flanders.


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