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Saive Castle

Belgian Castles

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Saive Castle, locally known as the Vieux Chateau which translates to the Old Castle, lies in the village of Saive, just east of the town of Liège, in the province of Liège in the Wallonia region in Belgium.

Although the castle itself dates back to the 13th century, the keep was probably already built in the 12th century. The keep was protected by a double defensive wall with towers and a moat. It was built on a steep, rocky hill guarding the valley of the Julienne river and the nearby roads. The square keep, 10×10 meters, is 20 meters high. The walls at its base are 2 meters thick.

The history of the castle is linked to the Principality of Liège. Its first known lord was Jean de Jupille. He was succeeded by the Charneux family in the 14th century. After a succession of owners, the castle was bought by the family de Ryckel in 1458. From then on the castle also suffered from the civil war that devastated the area.

Its lord; Jean de Ryckel sided with the sinister William de La Marck. This William was called the “Wild Boar of the Ardennes” because of his bloody campaigns during the end of the 15th century. During these times William’s brother; Erard III de la Marck occupied the fortified castle several times with his troops until William was captured and executed. When the Prince-bishop; Jean de Homes, returned to Liège he ordered the partial demolition of Saive Castle.

In the 16th and 17th century the title of Lord of Saive was fought over harshly by several families. The castle was also damaged in the process and had to be partially rebuilt in the beginning of the 17th century.

In 1692 the seigniory of Saive was sold to the Méan family. They built a new mansion and didn’t care about the old Saive Castle. They tried to let out the castle but there was no one willing. Thus given up, the castle fell to ruin. The roof of the keep collapsed at the beginning of the 20th century.

The present owners of the castle ruin live in the farm buildings on the bailey. The ruin is situated in their garden. So this means that it is private property and access is prohibited. You can, however, easily view the keep from the village. It’s a very nice keep, too bad it can’t be visited.

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