It is one of the oldest cities in Belgium, located in the heart of the High Ardennes region. Founded in 648 by Saint Remaclus, a monk from Limoges. For over a thousand years, the city, growing around the abbey, maintained its independence. At that time, Stavelot-Malmedy Abbey was an important spiritual and political center. Unfortunately, the glory years passed after the French Revolution, which contributed to the secularization and destruction of the monastery. Today, the city's greatest attractions are the magnificent abbey with three museums, and the Laetare Carnival. Fans of active leisure will find many cycling, hiking and horse riding routes in the nearby forests. All information, including maps, is available at the tourist information office. There is a canoeing center and an amusement park in the nearby village of Coo.
A place inscribed on the List of Unique Heritage in Wallonia. Founded in the 7th century by Saint Remaclus, it became a spiritual and political center for ten centuries. After the destruction during the French Revolution, the abbey was demolished. Today, only the western entrance, in the form of a huge tower, remains of the church. Thanks to the exposed foundations of the 11th-century abbey church, you can admire its dimensions. The remaining buildings come from the 18th century. The preserved stone and brick buildings had a secular character, while the buildings belonging to monks now house a museum.
Spa-Francorchamps Race Track Museum
Tucked away in the beautiful vaults of Stavelot Abbey, the museum recreates the great history of the legendary racetrack. The presentation of original documents, visual panels and, above all, the constantly renewed collection of exceptional racing cars, competing in races on this track, introduces visitors to the world of Formula 1 and the iconic 24 hour-long races. The museum was opened in 1984. Since 2002 it has been part of the museum complex, located at Stavelot Abbey, which also includes the Duchy's Museum and the Museum of the poet Guillaume Apollonaire.
Cour de l'Abbaye 1
Church of Saint Sebastian
The temple was built of stone and brick in 1754, at the end of the 20th century, it underwent a major renovation. Inside, there are some interesting monuments. The most valuable is undoubtedly the magnificent reliquary, a masterpiece of Mosan goldsmiths from the 13th century, hiding the relics of Saint Remaclus. In addition, wooden sculptures, a pulpit and an organ made by Korfmacher in 1841 are also worth noting.
Stavelot is a small town, so all the interesting streets are located around the market square. During the walk, visitors will see interesting old tenement houses, fountains and war memorials. Some were created in memory of the inhabitants of Stavelot killed during World War II, others as an expression of gratitude to the soldiers liberating the city. An attentive observer, walking through the stone streets of the old town, will see posters depicting wolves in many places. This animals used to be numerous in the Ardennes forests.
Legend has it that to help Saint Remaclus build the monastery, he was equipped with a donkey that served as a pack animal. During one of his trips to the quarry, a donkey was attacked by a wolf whom Saint Remaklus had condemned to carry stones needed to build a temple. Hence the presence of a wolf in the coat of arms of the abbey, as well as in the coat of arms of Stavelot. Sculptures depicting a wolf can also be seen on the fountain standing in the square.
The city center is the sloping paved St. Remaclus Square. It is here, on the fourth Sunday of Lent, that the main celebrations of the Carnival take place, the main attraction of which is the procession Blancs Moussis. For several centuries, Stavelot was the capital of the Stavelot-Malmedy Duchy-Abbey. According to the legend, the then Prince-Abbot forbade his clerics to participate in secular ceremonies. In 1502, the residents responded to the ban by creating white hooded costumes, discreetly referring to monks' habits. Eventually, Prince-Abbot Wilhelm von Manderscheid-Kail accepted the costumes, to which the residents added a mask with a very long, red, pointed nose. Procession Blancs Moussis It has been a symbol of Walloon folklore for more than five centuries, and its participants are often invited as special guests to carnivals in Cologne, Saint-Quentin and other cities.