The history of the abbey
Aywiers Abbey was founded in 1215 by Cistercian nuns from Liège (les Awirs).
The abbey prospered thanks to donations from Brussels' nobility, attaining up to 2000 hectares. Several farms, barns, mills and collieries formed part of the estate. Saint Lutgarde lived at Aywiers Abbey for 40 years. The patron saint of Flanders, she is believed to have performed a number of miracles.
During the French revolution, the abbey was sold and the new owner partially destroyed it in order to sell off the resulting building materials. This has not diminished the mysterious charm of the abbey in any way.
Today, the garden surrounded by ancient walls is located in the centre of the former Abbey. The English-style parkland, planted in the last century, boasts superb hundred-year-old tree specimens: a splendid Quercus × rosacea, very beautiful tilias, beech trees and Acer campestres…
Since more then twenty five years, the Aywiers Gardens Association works to restore the garden. The Abbey's aromatic and medicinal plant garden has been recreated and hundreds of trees, shrubs and rare plants have been planted, in order to return the spot to its former glory.
For the 800 years of the "Abbaye d'Aywiers", Isabelle Lévêque-Lamotte et Dorothy Schuermans wrote the book : "l'Abbaye d'Aywiers, Au-delà des jardins" ( Editions Le Carré Gomand)
"Well illustrated, this book presents a powerfull abbey whose fame and prestige extended far beyond its gardens! "
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