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HIERGES

The castle of Hierges can be found in France close to the belgian border where it overlooks the tiny village with the same name. The castle dates back to the 9th century when a first fortification was built on this spot. The castle itself was the first time mentioned in the 11th century. During the 12th century it was home of Manasses de Hierges who is know for his participation to the second crusade. The castle was besieged and destroyed in the 13th century but it was soon rebuilt giving it its present lay out. In the year 1555 it was besieged by the Duke of Nevers and partly destroyed. In 1564 it was rebuilt by Gilles de Berlaim. The castle had an important function between the rivers Sambre and Meuse and this was also its dowbfall when it was attacked and destroyed by Revolutionary troops at the end of 1793. The castle was never rebuilt but a residence was built inside the courtyard. The current owner Baron De Witte de Haelen opened the ruins and gardens to the public.

Legend says, Melusine the fairy built the Hierges Castle in one night, and 365 windows were counted. It's from Hieges that Melusine came , she was also called Sybille of Lusignant and was to be the queen of Jerusalem. Melusine of Hierges was a direct descendant of the famous fairy Melusine (the eldest of the line still having the same renowned name). Her father was Manasse of Hierges, who made his name known during the Crusades. Melusine married a significant man Guy of Lusignant. She was also the lady of the manor Samson, where it is said she participated in the battles to defend the castle (see the walkway of the Samson Cliff, which crosses through the ruins' castle). According to rumor, she would have died of the plague in 1190 in front of Saint Jean of Acres, according to others it was in 1187 in Samson. Anyway, if you stop by the church of Nameche, you can see in the center a tombstone with the following inscription "Here lies the bones of Sybille of Lusignat queen of Jerusalem deceased in the year of 1187".

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