Tienen Tourist Attractions
Half way between Liège and Brussels, right on the linguistic border, lies the town of Tienen (French Tirlemont), center of the fertile Hageland. The principal agricultural crop of the surroundings is sugar beet which is processed in Tienen, the town being the center of the Belgian sugar industry.The former settlement on a Roman road, which in parts has been well maintained, was first mentioned in a charter of Charles the Bold in 872. As early as 1015 the counts of Leuven granted rights to the town, and a little later the first fortifications were erected. In the Middle Ages the skill of the cloth makers assumed importance far beyond the town and helped it to gain prosperity and respect. The sugar industry developed in the 19th C. Towards the end of the war in 1944 the town suffered greatly from German bombing attacks.
The Stadhuis on the extensive Grote Markt was built in 1635 in Renaissance style; in 1836 it was partially demolished and afterwards provided with a neo-Classical facade.
The Gothic Church of Our Lady near the Stadhuis was never finished; it has a choir and transepts completed in 1345, above which rises the mighty tower of 1660. About 300 years before this Jean d'Oisy built the three excellent doorways with their fine figurative decoration. The Baroque choirstalls and the rich paneling are striking, as is the magnificent figure of the Madonna (1362) by Wouter Paus above the high altar. In the right side aisle can be seen a representation of St Anne by Verhaegen.
In the courtyard of the Palace of Justice, built as a cloth hall, is the 16th C. prison in which the municipal museum is now housed.Present is an exhibition regarding Gallo-Roman remains.
With an elevated situation near the Veemarkt stands the Church of Sint-Germanuskerk founded in the ninth C. Its impressive western part, dating from the first half of the 13th C., is considered to be one of the most recent Mosan Romanesque architectural features. Extensions including the choir and the nave were carried out in the 14th and 15th C.; the Romanesque tower was rebuilt in 1550 and in the 18th C. received a carillon of 54 bells which is played from July to August every Monday at about 8:30pm. Of particular merit in the church is a copy of a font of 1149, the original of which can be seen in the Musées Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire in Brussels.The tower is a UNESCO site.
From Tienen 3km/2mi east on the far side of the Gete lies Hakendover, a well-known place of pilgrimage, where annually in January a procession in memory of the wondrous building of Sint-Salvatorskerk in 630 is held. The present church dates from the 13th C. and has a fine carved altar of 1430 and Baroque choirstalls from the abbey at Oplinter.
Barely 5km/3mi southwest of Tienen we reach Hoegaarden which dates back to 1445.
Flemish Show Gardens
Fit within this 4 ha large park are the Flemish show gardens, amongst which can be found the Royal Garden.
In the 12th C. church of Saint-Médard in Jodoigne, 12km/7.5miles to the south, the jaw of St Médardus is kept in a silver shrine.