Tongering is so much more than the gateway to the beautiful Hesbaye, the "Tuscany of the North".
Haspengouw, one of the largest fruit growing regions in Europe.
We find castle landscapes with castles, religious monuments and marl caves that immerse you in the rich past. Roman ruins and medieval remains.
Tongeren, Belgium's first city, exudes history.
From the Roman and medieval ramparts to the imposing Gothic basilica and the charming beguinage, protected as a UNESCO world heritage site.
The history of Tongeren reads like an adventure story.
In '54 B.C. the local tribes defeat the Romans near Tongeren. One of the leaders is Ambiorix, king of the Eburons. His joy is short-lived. The legions return in revenge and mercilessly exterminate the Eburones. Ambiorix escapes and disappears. Until he suddenly appears on the Grand Place of Tongeren in 1866... as a statue.
At the beginning of the 2nd century A.D. the Romans started building the rampart around the city. The wall is six metres high, two metres thick and 4544 metres long, longer than that of the leading Roman city of Cologne. Over the centuries the wall crumbled.
From the 11th century onwards, Tongeren experienced an economic revival. Trade districts and crafts flourished. From the 13th century onwards, a new rampart was built, partly following the route of its Roman predecessor. Towers and gateways protected the city from intruders. Monasteries, churches and a beguinage embellished the city centre. Until a major fire in 1677, almost the entire centre was reduced to ashes.
Tongeren is slowly recovering from this blow. It was only in 1830 (the founding of Belgium) that a new revival took place. Today, Tongeren is once again that vibrant place of yesteryear, where the spirit of the Romans and the economic zeal of the medieval guilds merged into a fascinating and cosy city with all the comforts of today.
The most famous inhabitant of Tongeren is undoubtedly Ambiorix.
Now the city is stimulating with its modern spirit. Merchants will find what they are looking for in the cosy shops of Tongeren. Burgundians sip a local Amburon beer on the atmospheric terraces on the Grote Markt. Gourmets can be pampered gastronomically in one of the stylish restaurants.
Even on Sundays, Tongeren is buzzing with the largest antiques and brocante market in the Benelux. Or the monthly buying Sundays when all the shops open wide and there are lots of activities for the whole family.