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Vertbuisson

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This small hamlet has managed to preserve a rare model of rural archaeology. Not only have its inhabitants saved it; it is they who built it. To talk here of harmony with nature is not to say very much, as the materials used to build the rural houses in the middle of the "high marsh" were literally extracted from the surrounding earth. Fenland stones, sand and lime mortar, clay tiles, wood for frames, doors and windows, iron for bolts and other ironmongery all come from the heights of La Reid.
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Local historian André Andries's work entitled "Lettres de noblesse des habitants de Vertbuisson" (Nobility claims from the inhabitants of Vertbuisson) (published for the 2006 Heritage Days by La Reid tourist office) sums up forty years of research into different aspect of Vertbuisson heritage: natural, historical, architectural, ethnographic and cultural. This small village has an unsuspected wealth of history. Settled originally as a staging post in the most barren part of the mediaeval route known as La Vèquée connecting the prince-bishops' city to Stavelot Abbey, it became a frontier post when the Marquisate of Franchimont was created, with that main road serving as a natural border with the Duchy of Luxembourg. From then on, it was the advance post of the marquisate in the "wars of the Porallée" against the subjects of the Lord of Montjardin. These wars, which lasted for over four centuries, turned into an international conflict under the Austrian and French regimes. Who Vertbuisson belonged to at that time was the subject of a treaty signed by Empress Maria-Theresa of Austria and a decree signed by Emperor Napoleon I. All the great periods of history were illustrated by anecdotes or events with Vertbuisson as a setting. The cultural heritage of this tiny locality is surprisingly rich which was totally unsuspected. Literature, painting, music, theatre and cinema have been enriched by artists inspired by this wild setting "of inexpressible melancholy".
Aware of its being an increasingly rare example of a homogeneous traditional habitat, Theux local authority has made a worthy effort to promote the site. A reception and information area has been set up by the public works service at the point where the famous Ninglinspo tourist walk reaches the hamlet, the fine cross at the crossroads has been restored and an information panel produced by the graphic designer Sylvain Glückmann who lives in Vertbuisson has been set up.

La Charmille

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Located 50 metres from the start of the Ninglinspo walk (Aywaille municipality), the hornbeam walk was planted by Michel Nys, a man of independent means who, having acquired the château, developed its park. This hornbeam walk is the longest in Europe at 573 metres with 4500 hornbeams shaped to form a barrel vault. It was listed in 1979 and restored in 1985 by the students and teachers of La Reid agricultural college. On leaving the Charmille, a road heads towards Vertbuisson. This is all that remains of the ancient route from Liège called the Vêquée because it was used by the Bishops of Liège on their way to Stavelot Abbey. The hamlet is marked by its specific location linked to this Vêquée and, at the time, acted as a staging post offering bed and board to travellers. A small brewery operated here in the 18th century and three dated 'potales' (niches containing a small statue) are from this period. Located at the edge of La Porallée, freehold land in an enclave of the Duchy of Luxembourg, Vertbuisson had to take on the role of advance post of the Marquisate of Franchimont in the face of the reprisals of the Luxembourg Porallée residents, jealous of the privileges enjoyed by this freehold land.

 

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