The beguinage of Lier
The beguinage of Lier, a town in the province of Antwerp, was founded in 1258, making it one of the oldest ones in Flanders. It has been recognized as World Heritage by the Unesco since 1999.
Around 1400 there were about three hundred beguines living in the beguinage. After the French Revolution, their numbers dropped strongly.
The beguines filled their days by weaving lace or making embroideries. There was a great harmony between both the spiritual and the material life. At any moment they could leave the beguinage. The last Lierse beguin died in 1994.
The current buildings largely date from the 17th and 18th century. Entering the monumental beguinage gate from 1690, you start an impressive journey into history in a labyrinth of eleven silent cobblestone streets with 162 picturesque cottages. The beguinage church, dedicated to St. Margareta is a must visit, you will find a rich baroque interior and a monumental organ.