St. Leonard's Church, Zoutleeuw World Heritage Site

Church in Zoutleeuw, Belgium

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St. Leonard's Church, Zoutleeuw
Saint Leonard's Church
DenominationRoman Catholic
Heritage designationMonument
Official nameSint-Leonarduskerk
Part ofBelfries of Belgium and France
CriteriaCultural: (ii), (iv)
Inscription1999 (23rd session)
Area0.2 ha (0.49 acres)
Buffer zone35.25 ha (87.1 acres)
Coordinates50°50′00″N 5°06′11″E / 50.83333°N 5.10306°E / 50.83333; 5.10306Coordinates: 50°50′00″N 5°06′11″E / 50.83333°N 5.10306°E / 50.83333; 5.10306
St. Leonard's Church, Zoutleeuw is located in Belgium
St. Leonard's Church, Zoutleeuw
Location of St. Leonard's Church, Zoutleeuw in Belgium

The Saint Leonard's Church (Dutch: Sint-Leonarduskerk) in Zoutleeuw, Belgium, stands on the former site of a Romanesque chapel erected in 1125 by Benedictines from Vlierbeek Abbey near Leuven. Construction of the present church began around 1231, and additions continued into the 16th century. Rendered mainly in the Gothic style, the building in its oldest parts shows traces of the Romanesque architectural style.

The two heavy square towers flanking the west facade are connected with each other by means of a gallery over the nave. The slender central tower, octagonal in cross-section, contains a carillon with 24 bells. Since 1999 the church, along with its towers, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site (see Belfries of Belgium and France).

Few, if any other medieval churches in Belgium remain in such an excellent state of preservation as St. Leonard's, which stayed clear of the widespread iconoclasm during the Protestant Reformation. It also survived the French Revolution intact, because three canons took an oath of allegiance to the French regime. The interior thus offers an authentic glimpse of how the churches of Brabant were furnished centuries ago.

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