Visiting the former Central Post Office building, Liège, Belgium: neo-Gothic splendour by Edmond Jamar
Riverside sentinel for more than a century
The architect responsible for this fine, solid building in Liège, Belgium, was Edmond Jamar (1853-1929) (1).
Some history and features
Under Architect Jamar's direction, work on the central post office began in 1894 and was completed in 1905. The Architect executed the building in stone (with, new for his time, metal structural materials) and worked in neo-Gothic style.
Among its notable features is an octagonal tower, which is somewhat of a landmark, not only from the adjacent city streets but also from the Meuse River, still used by much fluvial traffic. Various coats of arms are included on the outer walls. After the building's postal use was discontinued, a program of renovation was begun in the early 21st century, with a view to a new commercial use for this historic property.
This structure effuses a certain splendour and grace, characteristic of many public buildings dating from prior to World War One, when the emphasis was more on beautifying the urban landscape and less on functionality. It may be said that this was an era when architects were encouraged to seek a style which reflected historical continuities, rather than pursing goals, even illusions, of new beginnings. Confronted with this building, the visitor is it thus transported to quite another era, which, though barely a century ago, seems, in terms of its style and solidity, to be linked more with the several preceding centuries than to contemporary times.
Overlooking the Meuse River, the former central post office building, at rue de la Régence , is situated close to the historic, main building of the University of Liège at Place du 20 août , Liège, in Belgium's Walloon region.
(1) Other noted buildings for which Architect Jamar was responsible include the Saint-Pholien church, Liège (made famous by Liège writer Georges Simenon's 1931 novel. Le Pendu de Saint-Pholien) and the Chèvremont Basilica at Chaudfontaine. Architect Jamar was also a highly regarded and frequently consulted architectural expert, and was known to have leanings toward reflecting the Medieval roots of style.
Also worth seeing
In Liège itself, other visitor attractions include: the Prince-Bishops' Place; many fine examples of ecclesiastical architecture; the statue of Charlemagne; the Bueren Mountain; the Perron steps; the Fragnée Bridge; the Zénobe Gramme memorial.
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. Please 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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