Leuven Religious Buildings Tour (Self Guided), Leuven

Leuven has a great religious heritage and there are many magnificent abbey buildings and interesting churches that are worth a visit. This self-guided tour will take you through some of the most historical religious buildings in the city.
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Leuven Religious Buildings Tour Map

Guide Name: Leuven Religious Buildings Tour
Guide Location: Belgium » Leuven (See other walking tours in Leuven)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
Author: karenl
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Saint Gertrude’s Church
  • Saint Gertrude’s Abbey
  • Saint James’s Church
  • Saint Peter’s Church
  • Saint Michael’s Church
  • Saint Anthony' s Chapel
  • Saint John the Baptist’s Church
  • Saint Quentin’s Church
Saint Gertrude’s Church

1) Saint Gertrude’s Church

Constructed between the 13th and 15th centuries, the church is known as a popular tourist attraction and a venue for different concerts. The Gothic tower, dating from 1454, was founded by Jan van Ruysbroeck, the most famous expert builder in the town. Besides, it is called one of the seven wonders of the town, as it is built only out of stone without securing pins. Inside the church you can admire the late Gothic choir stalls.
Saint Gertrude’s Abbey

2) Saint Gertrude’s Abbey

Located at the heart of the Small Beguinage, the abbey owned numerous properties and farms that have been recently re-established and have found a new purpose as a housing complex. Founded between the 13th and the 15th century, from bombed facades from the town, it has a green park with old trees. The interior is beautifully decorated, with style and grace and an important detail was added even in the 17th century.
Saint James’s Church

3) Saint James’s Church

Dating from the beginning of the 13th century, the church is built in Romanesque style. Today only the central tower still remains and the church itself, that surrounds the tower, was added in the 15th and 16th centuries. Outside the church a bell can be seen hanging on the tower. The transept was established in 1488 by the master of the town hall, Matt Layens.
Saint Peter’s Church

4) Saint Peter’s Church (must see)

Being one of the oldest in the town, the church was built in 986, but the first structure was burned in 1776. Shortly after that the present building was built, and it was much larger than the Romanesque church started in 1425, which contains some of the treasures of the religious town within it. Situated in the very heart of Leuven, on the principal market square, the edifice has a Brabantine Gothic influence and the parterre has the shape of a cross with a low bell tower that has never been completed. Outside the building, you can admire the choir with seven radiating chapels.
Saint Michael’s Church

5) Saint Michael’s Church

Constructed between 1650 and 1670, the edifice is considered to be the main Jesuit church in Belgium. The building was designed by architect Willem Hesius, who was responsible for the main edifice of this magnificent church. The impressive facade with a Baroque influence is described as an altar outside the church. The Baroque style makes the building really stand out amongst the smaller, secular houses that surround it. The church was founded in 1940 by royal decree, and recognized and protected as a monument.
Saint Anthony' s Chapel

6) Saint Anthony' s Chapel

Situated within the city, this beautiful little building is one of the many churches constructed over the years near the five major parishes of the city. The first constructions began in the 17th Century, and a complete overhaul of the structure was carried out in the early 20th Century, forming the beautiful church that we see today. It is popular for being the place where resides Father Damien’s tomb, a well known clergy figure from the city. Tourists from all over the world come to honour his memory.
Saint John the Baptist’s Church

7) Saint John the Baptist’s Church

Situated within the Great Beguinage, this protected early Gothic church is a great piece of ecclesiastical and architectural history in the city. It first began as a small project in the 14th Century and then over a period of hundreds of years, it began to be developed into a much larger church. It shows signs of both Gothic and Baroque influence, making it one of the more fascinating churches in the city. This chapel has a new carillon since autumn 2009.
Saint Quentin’s Church

8) Saint Quentin’s Church

Built in 1252, the chapel is one of few ancient ecclesiastical pieces of architecture that make up the rich tapestry of the streets of the city. It was developed into a parish church a couple of hundred years later but now is an imposing Gothic church; the signs of development are obvious from the way that the stonework has changed through the ages. Although the history of the little church has a Romanesque influence, this chapel bears a close similarity to the Brabant high-Gothic style.

Walking Tours in Leuven, Belgium

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