Two crumbling landmarks on a hill

Up on a hill at the south end of Liège, Belgium, there is a church called Sacré Coeur (Sacred Heart) and a tower called the Inter-Allied Monument. These can be seen from many places in the southern half of the city.

From a distance, these two monuments look a bit shabby, but when you climb the hill and get up close to them they look — extremely shabby. Both were closed and fenced in when I went up to see them in 2011. On the fences there were signs claiming that both monuments were being re-constructed, but there was no visible evidence of any construction work, just decay. (Has anything changed since then?)

Sacré Coeur and the Inter-Allied Monument

Both the church and the tower were built in the 1930s and were intended as memorials to the allied combatants of the First World War. Liège was the first Belgian city to be attacked in that war by the invading German forces, on August 4-6, 1914.

As in Lyon, France, which is also dominated by a church and a tower on a hill, the idea in Liège was to have a religious and a secular monument side by side, so as to satisfy both the believing and the disbelieving segments of the population.

Sacré Coeur in need of repair, 2011

By coincidence — or not — the church on the hill above Liège has the same name as the larger and more famous (but just as repulsive) Basilica Sacré Coeur which looms menacingly on a hill above the city of Paris.

My photos in this post are from 2011. I revised the text in 2018.

See more posts on Liège, Belgium.

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