Castle of Mesen

12/29/2014 83 images Share: , , Album RSS
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Built and destroyed many times, what remains from this building dates mainly from the beginning of the 17th century. Designed by famous Italian architect Giovanni Niccolo Servandoni, it sits in the middle of a pretty public park, and has many outbuildings like stables and an orangery. By 1796, the castle was no longer used as a living place. During the next century, the castle was used for the local industry - A gin distillery, a sugar refinery, a potash refinery and a tobacco factory took place in the castle. In 1897 the castle was sold to a religious order - nuns Kannunikessen from Jupille - that built the impressive neo-gothic chapel in 1905. After the First World War, Institute Royal de Messines bought the complex and established a school for the local children. A new aisle was added, the Dutch pavilion in 1921. This boarding school (1914-1970) was first located in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, founded by Mrs de Maintenon. After its destruction, it moved to Lede in Belgium. The teaching was performed in French. With only female students, the school was reserved to the penniless aristocracy. Later on, militaries daughters were allowed. By 1970 the building belonged to the Ministry of Defense who let the complex rot. Costs for restoration became so high that it was refused listing as a historical monument.

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The chapel and a number of outbuildings were demolished in 2010 and a new assisted living complex was built on the property. Initially saved from the wrecking ball, the remaining structures were voted to be demolished in 2014.

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