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The ramparts

The first mention of Binche goes back to the 12th century under the name of Bincium. It was in 1120, in the reign of Yolande of Guelders, Countess of Hainaut, that the town was created. Then came Mary of Hungary in the 16th century, with her triumphal arches in Binche. Between these two eras and for a long time afterwards, the town grew in status.

Being gems of medieval military architecture, the ramparts at Binche has been preserved in almost their entirety. An early city wall already existed by the 12th century, stretching from the current Main Square to the middle of “Notre Dame” road. The town’s prosperity led to continuous growth in its population, requiring enlargement of the fortifications in the 13th century. The walls would be longer than 2 kilometers, supported by 30 towers and encompassing an area of 22 hectares.

The Samme river gave rise to various trades, which took root in the Faubourg Saint-Paul. Currently, with the river being diverted, it no longer encircles the town. The Roc Tower dominates with its great height, up on a hill as part of the ramparts.

At the edges of the park may be found vestiges of the former shelter provided by the Abbey of “Bonne-Espérance”, nowadays called the “Caves Bette”. This building, awarded conservation status in 1955, consist of several elements arising from different eras. In 1380, the building was acquired by the monks of the “Bonne-Espérance” Abbey, who turned it into a refuge to be used in times of war and to stock provisions. Afterwards, it saw various owners, who let it become delapidated, mainly in the 19th century. Restoration was completed in 1994.

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