Friday 4 May 2007

Discoveries at Bozar

During his guided walk on Saturday 21 April Derek Blyth took us to a platform above the Palais des Beaux Arts, or Bozar as it is called now. This platform offered interesting views and panoramas, in particular because at one edge of it, immediately beneath us, there was an enclosed space on about the level of the former Rue d'Isabelle.

A day later Selina Busch and I went to an exhibition in Bozar and there we found that enclosed space. What is more, in the wall beneath the platform they have now enclosed the old tower which was a part of the old city wall. So this place is indeed more or less on the same level as the old Rue d´Isabelle (see photograph).

It is also interesting that one can see Hotel Errera, towering high above, as one would imagine it would have looked when seen from the old street, on the basis of the Tahon photograph. The view to the other side is also interesting (see photographs).

However, the Rue d´Isabelle did not run across this spot. The tower was incorporated into the back of one of the houses on the Rue Royale side of the street. Some five or six metres therefore have to be walked from the tower to the spot where the street began, and then one is inside Bozar again.

This little place is a very useful addition to the means we have that enable us to imagine what the old quarter looked like, and we must be grateful to the Palais des Beaux Arts for creating it.

It may be that behind the wall in which the tower is enclosed, or in it, behind a layer of plaster, there are remnants of old walls, that are needed to carry the weight of the height of the Rue Royale, and may not have been completely removed for that reason.

Four years earlier we had already seen the tower. At that time the building was being renovated. There was a lot of work going on near the tower, which was already contained in the white wall. The room, which was not the shape of this place, had a ceiling.

There is another place in the Palais with a few remains of the old quarter. However, it is in an office and not accessible by the public.

Eric Ruijssenaars

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