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Belgium hidden gem: Chartreuse Fortress

Belgium Hidden Gem - a creepy ghost town

Darkness arrived and we continued our roadtrip to new places. As time was limited, we drove to Liège at night. Liège, where Fort de la Chartreuse – the abandoned fortress is situated, is now home to graffiti artists and the entertainment hub for young locals from midnight to early morning. We were welcomed by Sandrine, a close friend and local who knows the city best.

This Belgium hidden gem – Chartreuse Fortress was built by the Dutch army between 1817 and 1823 before Belgium was established. In the Belgian revolution in 1830, this large fortress became the Belgian’s military camp to protect Liege, with a capacity of about 3000 soldiers. In two world wars, it was used as a German prison and then became a hospital of the Americans. After over 100 years of hard time, the fortress sank into oblivion, embraced by nature.

Belgium hidden gem Chartreuse Fortress Liege 15-min

We arrived when it was quite dark. The place is extremely quiet. Inside the Chartreuse fortress, the night occupied the entire space. The only sound we could hear was the creak of our steps. Any other sound would have frightened us, standing in silence, skipping a breath and looking around. My two friends were braver and kept walking with the lights from their phones. I, however, lagged behind with my camera because it took time to adjust and take pictures in the low light condition. We strolled down the endless corridors, from site to site with cumbered iron bars and wooden windows. There are a few huge holes on the floor which are so dangerous. The story about a 3 year old boy who died here makes my nerves tingle. Never thought that our Europe adventure could be this thrilling and unexpected.

Belgium hidden gem: Chartreuse Fortress
Belgium hidden gem: Chartreuse Fortress

The awakening of liveliness

While it is scary at night, this Belgium hidden gem is lively during daytime. The sunlight spreads through the windows, brightening up the lines and colors of the graffiti on its walls. Along the endless corridors are rooms with high ceilings which were sophisticatedly carved but affected by time.

Belgium hidden gem: Chartreuse Fortress
Belgium hidden gem: Chartreuse Fortress

Lianas are everywhere and rough roots emerging from the ground make the road rougher. We climbed from base to base, going down tunnels, taking advantage of nature light to explore the intriguing yet scary fortress. The deeper we went to the forest, the denser the plants got. Lush trees covered us, preventing light from going through. We split ways to go through the forest and climbed to the highest building to get the panoramic view over the whole area.

Belgium hidden gem Chartreuse Fortress Liege 37-min
Belgium hidden gem Chartreuse Fortress Liege 26-min
Belgium hidden gem Chartreuse Fortress Liege 46-min
Belgium hidden gem Chartreuse Fortress Liege 39-min

If you travel by car, you can park your car and enter in Thier de la Chartreuse’s gate. You can also take a bus number 35, stop at Grivegnee on Fortifications road, walk to Achille Lebeau road and follow a rail to reach the fortress Belgium hidden gem’s center.

Bring a flashlight, backup coats, and sneakers because cement and wood floors are old and very dangerous. You should go in group and speak a little French.

It takes about 4-5 hours to explore the area. You can start in early morning and watch sunrise on the top of the building or come at lunch then finish your trip with sunset’s beauty.

Craved for more hidden gems around the world? Check out the stunning gems in Amsterdam HERE
AnhThy(Tea) started to travel at a very young age, but things get serious during her years living abroad where she was exposed to majestic nature and wonderful people from all walks of life. Apart from photography, writing becomes part of her life in which she relives all of the memories built up along the way, and in which she can become as many different characters as she always wants to be. Following her journey to discover more of the personality that comes across in her work.

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