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The Abandoned Church of Ombret

Ombret is a village belonging to the municipality of Amay, close to Liège. Just like thousands of villages across Belgium, Ombret has a big Gothic church. But Ombret Church is slightly different because it’s been abandoned. This is unusual for Belgium as the state maintains its churches very well. Normally.

The church  – officially l’Eglise Notre-Dame d’Amay – was built in 1871 by architect Eugène Halkin. But for some reason that I have been unable to discover, over the years it has been left to go to ruin. In 2013 a violent storm ravaged the building still further.

Discovering Belgium’s roving photographer Herman Vandecauter recently visited the church in Ombret. Here are a few of his photos.

 l'Eglise Notre-Dame d'Amay
The abandoned church of Ombret
 l'Eglise Notre-Dame d'Amay
The abandoned church of Ombret
The abandoned church of Ombret
 l'Eglise Notre-Dame d'Amay
The abandoned church of Ombret
The abandoned church of Ombret
 l'Eglise Notre-Dame d'Amay
The Lourdes Grotto behind the church

There have been plans to renovate and/or transform the church. In 2005 a developer bought it to build luxury apartments on the site. But nothing came of the plans. Further redevelopment plans were drawn up in 2017, and again in 2020. But as you can see, nothing has happened yet. I suspect one of these days it will either fall down completely, or be bulldozed. Still, it’s always good to dream. Here’s one of the architect’s visions:

New idea for  l'Eglise Notre-Dame d'Amay

To visit l’Eglise Notre-Dame d’Amay yourself, it’s at Rue des Prisonniers Politiques 26, 4540 Amay.

Of course, you probably won’t spend more than an hour there. Here are a few ideas of how to spend the rest of your day in the area.

Ten minutes drive away is Outrelouxhe where I enjoyed this lovely forest walk.

A bit further is the Château of Modave which you can visit and also enjoy a country walk around the area.

Or you can spend some time in nearby Huy.

17 thoughts on “The Abandoned Church of Ombret”

    1. Denzil, incredible and atmopsheric photos of this wondrous abandoned church. I imagine walking around there in silent contemplation, absorbing the uniuqe place. The only ruins of churches I’ve wandered around in the UK are the bigger older abbeys and cathedrals – this chuch has a much more special and intimate atmosphere. I can’t see the combination of flats and church working well … let us know what happens to it!

      1. Hi Annika, hope you are doing well. Thanks for your comment. Yes it’s a special place. Interesting also to see how nature invades these places. Particularly the Buddleia!

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