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Liège, Belgium

Collégiale Sainte-Croix de Liège

A once-magnificent cathedral is falling into ruin. 

Placed in the center of the city, the Collégiale Sainte-Croix de Liège (Holy Cross College of Liège) was intended to be a religious and civic point of focus when the town was an important station of the Holy Roman empire.

Building started around 976 A.D. in the Romanesque style and continued for many years. As architectural tastes changed over the years of construction, style became more Gothic. Collégiale Sainte-Croix was the crowning jewel of the city, visible from just about any part of town. It was also well-known for housing St. Hubert’s Key, a charm used for the treatment of rabies in the Middle Ages.

In the 1960s a highway was built to snake directly around the church. While this served commuters well, it essentially cut Sainte-Croix off from the rest of the city. Within a decade the church had been almost totally abandoned. Despite repeated conservation efforts, it fell into serious disrepair. As of 2014 the major of Liège declared the church unsafe to visit as its edifices were crumbling. There are still movements to reconstruct the historic church, but as of now it still sits tucked between expressways, falling apart.