St Aubin's Cathedral

St Aubin's Cathedral, Namur, Wallonia, the only cathedral in Belgium in academic Late Baroque style, strikes the observer as an unexpectedly Italian statement in this northern city; in fact it was built to designs of the Ticinese architect Gaetano Matteo Pisoni. It was the only church built in the Low Countries as a cathedral after 1559, when most of the dioceses of the Netherlands were reorganized.

In the interior, the richly ornamented frieze, carved with swags of fruit and flowers between the Corinthian capitals runs in an unbroken band entirely round the church. All colour is avoided, replaced by architectural enrichments and the bas-reliefs in the pendentives of the dome. A tower of the former Romanesque church that stood on the site has survived. In the cathedral a marble plaque near the high altar conceals a casket containing the heart of Don Juan of Austria, Habsburg governor of the Spanish Netherlands, who died in 1578; his body lies in the Escorial near Madrid. This Cathedral is classified as part of Wallonia's Major Heritage by the Walloon Region.

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