Our Lady's Church and Counts Chapel
Construction work on the Church of Our Lady (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk) began in 1199 on the initiative of Count Baldwin IX. The church was located on the estate of Kortrijk that was fortified and completely walled in, with the exception of an area on the Leie. Of this early Gothic church only the west facade, the nave and the transept remain. The towers were constructed at the end of the 13th century. After the Battle of Westrozebeke in 1382 the church was largely destroyed and rebuilt. At a later stage the interior was decorated in Baroque style.
Following the Battle of the Golden Spurs in 1302, which took place on the nearby Groeninge field, the Flemish hung five hundred golden spurs from French knights who had been slain in the choir in thanks to Our Lady of Groeninge. In 1382, Breton mercenaries took them together with other valuables following the Battle of Westrozebeke. The spurs were later replaced by copies that still hang in the church. The Church of Our Lady conceals a number of art treasures such as the 'Erection of the cross' by Anthony Van Dyck.
In 1370, Count Lodewijk van Male constructed the Counts' chapel (Gravernkapel) as a mausoleum for himself. In the chapel you can admire the stunning wall paintings of the counts of Flanders and the statue of the Holy Catharina (a famous masterpiece). The stained glass windows accentuate the church's noble character: the counts of Flanders, knights in armour during the Battle of the Golden Spurs etc.
More info: Church of Our Lady
Did you know that:
"Philip of Alsace, during the Third Crusade, brought home the relic of Holy Hair? This relic is kept in Our Lady's Church. In the past, the Sacred Hair Procession would be held yearly in Kortrijk. Guido Gezelle was assistant parish priest between 1872 and 1889.
The Counts Chapel in Kortrijk owns, in addition to the portraits of the counts of Flanders, a beautiful series of small sculptures that are incorporated in the various arched bays. These corner pieces offer not only an anthology of the best-known themes from religious iconography, but also beautiful depictions of more worldly scenes such as medieval knights' tournaments. The KGOKK studied the corner pieces and had them scanned in 3D in order to make the sculptures known to a wider audience. The chapel is accessible to the public in its entirety."