Trésor du Prieuré d'Oignies
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Trésor du Prieuré d'Oignies information
Lonely Planet review
Don't miss the Trésor du Prieuré d'Oignies. This one-room treasury is housed in a modern convent and is guarded by the Sisters of Our Lady. Ring the bell to be taken on a guided tour of the exquisite hoard of Gothic religious treasure (chalices, crosses and reliquaries), much of which was created by Brother Hugo d'Oignies. Like other famous artworks in Belgium, this collection has a colourful history.
During the French Revolution, when art treasures were being carted off to Paris, the monks in charge of the priory where Brother Hugo had lived took the artworks to a local farmer who walled them up in his house. When the last monk died in 1818, the treasure was given to the Sisters of Our Lady in Namur. During WWI, the Germans destroyed the sisters' convent but the treasure remained intact, wisely buried at the outbreak of war. These days it's kept behind barred doors, though many pieces travel the world as part of international exhibitions.