Sunday, August 9, 2009

Begijnhof Kortrijk - Belgium

Close to where home used to be in Kortrijk (Belgium), I photographed the Beguinage which belongs to the Unesco World Heritage Site since 1998.

Begijnhof Kortrijk
For those of you who don't know, the Beguines were a religious movement of women founded in the 13th century in the Low countries (Belgium, Netherlands). Their success was attributed due to a surplus of women after their men died in local wars. Great number of women had no option but to unite and collectively secure aid of rich benefactors. A common misconception is that beguines are nuns', which is not true.
Begijnhof Kortrijk
The "Begijnhof Kortrijk" was started in 1238 by Johanna van Constantinopel but was destroyed in 1302, 1382 and in 1684. It is a collection of 40+ white cottages closely grouped together around a landscaped courtyard. The present Baroque houses and chapel date from the 17th century and are possibly one of the most attractive Beguinages in Belgium.

Begijnhof Kortrijk
The double step gable facade house used to be the place where the Head Beguine lived and had a museum which today is unfortunately closed for renovation.
Begijnhof Kortrijk
Marcella, the very last Belgian Beguine left the Beguinage a few years ago and all houses are now rented on a residential basis offering an oasis of tranquility.

Begijnhof Kortrijk

Even though I visited this place before, I did enjoy photographing it again.



Happy shooting,


Bjorn


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