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MONS
Chapel of Saint Calixte – Museum of the Castle of the Counts


Photos 11152726.JPGThe Chapel has been converted into a museum. Various panels describe the evolution of the site, including the progression of the belfry restoration. Different showcases display the archaeological discoveries made on the site, such as in particular, ceramic fragments, a piece of chain mail, spurs, a metal helmet. During the visit, the ancient castle postern (gate) can also be seen. It opens on to the Marguerite Bervoets road, the so-called `Caesar TowerZ connected by an alleyway called `Caesar's passageZ which dates back to the 14th century.
Winding up the tour are the recumbent statues to be found in the 11th century crypt. These are identical copies of those of the kings of France Philippe VI of Valois and Charles V the Wise. The originals, pieces by the Hainault sculptor André de Beauneveu, are preserved at the Louvre (Paris) and at Saint-Denis.
The oldest religious monument of Mons, this chapel was built in 1051 by the dynamic Countess of Richilde, who wanted to preserve there the relics of Pope Saint-Calixte, a martyr of the 3rd century. The chapel was built in Bray sandstone, with a truly impressive wall width (which explains its longevity).
The small chapel is made up of two rooms: the first, vaulted, is the choir. The other is roofed by a wooden ceiling. Formerly, the arched white stone was decorated with Romano-Byzantine frescos. Some original pieces were discovered there, in particular a Christ's head and the head of a dragon. The current frescos are recent. They date from 1951 and were created by the artist Edmond Dubrunfaut from drawings taken in 1873 which had been "recopied" from Byzantine frescos of the 11th and 12th centuries from one of the walls of the choir.
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