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Visiting Bueren Mountain, Liège, Belgium: a landmark inducing breathlessness

Updated on December 29, 2011
Flag of Belgium
Flag of Belgium | Source

Dating from 1875, but recalling Medieval events

Bueren Mountain (French: Montagne de Bueren ) is not a real mountain. But, for those who climb its slopes, with or without the assistance of the long handrail, it might just as well be.

In fact, it consists of an enormous flight of steps: 374 in all.

I must admit that when I climbed these steps, I did not count them. I was too busy catching my breath.

The steps date from 1875. However, the name, Bueren Mountain, recalls events in Medieval times.

The structure is named for 15th century aristocrat Vincent de Bueren, from what is now the the Dutch province of Gelderland, who defended the city of Liège from an attack by the Duke of Burgundy. A largely destroyed citadel, not far from the Bueren Mountain, was formerly a stronghold of the city's defences.

So what is there to see at the top of the steps? which noteworthy feature at the very top makes all the effort of climbing them worthwhile?

Well, the short answer is that there really is not all that much to see at the top (1).

But the view from the top, of the Meuse River and of part of the city of Liège, is impressive.

Anyway, Bueren Mountain is among the most famous of landmarks in Liège, located in the east of Belgium's Walloon region (French: Région wallonne ).

In any case, this landmark comes with polite advice or warnings to the unsuspecting traveller. If you suffer from dizziness, or are otherwise prone to breathlessness: hold onto the handrail!

So, how about this as a tourist's slogan?

"You've become breathless climbing the Washington Monument. You've almost swooned climbing the steps at Montmartre, Paris. But will you DARE make your way up the Bueren Mountain in Liège, Belgium?"

Well, maybe it sounds good, anyway. (Somehow, I don't think the slogan will catch on, though.)


(1) To be fair to the excellent Liégeois people and their heritage, my sensibilities were possibly somewhat (temporarily?) suspended by the time I had climbed the 374 steps, so that even if there had been something historically and architecturally worthwhile to see at the top of the steps (or even if there was something worthwhile seeing), I may have been in no fit state to appreciate it. I did notice the fine, view, though; but, there, I should close.

Also worth seeing

In Liège itself, there are many outstanding examples of ecclesiastical architecture, including not only ancient churches but the Palace of Prince-Bishops (palais des Prince-Evêques ). An Ursuline convent, recently refurbished, is situated close to the foot of the Bueren Mountain. The main building of the University of Liège at Place du 20 août is a striking, pillared structure. The Perron is a structure which has long been a famous symbol of the city of Liège.

Brussels (distance: 97 kilometres) has numerous, outstanding visitor attractions including the Grand' Place, the Royal Palace and BELvue museum, and the Palace of Justice.


How to get there: Brussels Airlines flies from New York (JFK) to Brussels Airport, where car hire is available (distance from Brussels Airport to Liège : 94 kilometres). The Belgian railroad company SNCB maintains a service from Brussels to Liège . Some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. You are advised to refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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