City of Tongeren

Who are we?

The city of Tongeren was founded around 12BC as a Roman city and capital of the Civitas Tungrorum. The town grew to the second most important one in the Roman province Germania Inferior as it was situated near the important road from the coast to Cologne. In the fourth century the city became the seat of the bishop of the Tungri. After a downfall in the second half of the fifth century – the seat of the bishop was transferred to Maastricht which was again transferred in the beginning of the eight century to Liège – the city gradually regained some of its old grandeur. Especially the church of Our Lady and the surrounding area were of regional importance.

The early medieval settlement remained part of the bishop’s possessions and so Tongeren was incorporated within the Prince-Bishopric of Liège. The city flourished in the fourteenth and fifteenth century. A gradual decline followed which came to a climax in 1677 with its torching by French troops during the Franco-Dutch War. Nearly ninety percent of the city was destroyed and it took till the nineteenth century before things settled again. Remnants of this extraordinary story of two thousand years of history can still be seen beneath, within and around the church of Our Lady.

Our expertise

Being the oldest city in Belgium, Tongeren harbors the remains from the Roman up to the late medieval city. Throughout the twentieth century the municipality made efforts to study and valorize this heritage. To this purpose, traditional ways of presentation and education were used.

With the start of the new century the town has committed to invest in more dynamic state of the art ways of presenting this heritage. See for example the renewal of the Gallo-Roman Museum, the archeological site beneath the church of Our Lady and the renewal of the treasury of the church of Our Lady (both incorporated within the Teseum).

What do we do in the project ?

The city of Tongeren is responsible for telling the story of the Tongeren-part of Terra Mosana and will create an onsite experience about the area around the church of Our Lady. The project leaders are city archivist Steven Vandewal and city archaeologist Dirk Pauwels.