The fortress of Charleroi had barely been built by the Spanish in 1666
when it was taken over the next year by the French. In 1667, Louis XIV
ordered the construction of a garrison chapel dedicated to saint Louis.
This became the parish church in 1669. In 1722, it was named
Saint-Christopher again, who was formerly worshipped in the chapel of
the Charnoy hamlet, disappeared during the building of the fortress.
Between 1955 and 1958 spectacular reconstruction works were conducted by architect Joseph André. Today a new church cuts across the old one. The final result looks like a centred plane under a cupola that is typical of a memorial. Inspired by Byzantine art Joseph André aimed to achieve "a common rhythm and measure between the old parts and the new creation".
The whole decor is a comment on biblical texts selected after the violent events experienced in Europe in the middle of the 20th century.
The choir mosaic, a unique work in Belgium, is a composition of Jean Ransy realised by Orsoni of Venice. Covering a surface of 200m2, it comprises one milion small square tiles of coloured glass or covered in thin gold leaf. The mosaic illustrates the text of the Revelation of saint John.
Guided visits :
Situated at the heart of the historic centre of the city, the Saint-Christopher basilica is an essential stage in the discovery of Charleroi.
The Tourist Office of Charleroi invites you to discover this remarkable building in the company of a tourist guide.
During this visit, you will also discover other tempestuous periods in our history that is so closely linked to that of France, to the names of Vauban, Louis XIV, jourdan and Napoleon. You will discover all the depth and beauty of the mosaic, the exceptional work of Jean Ransy.
You will be able to explore every nook and cranny of the church by gaining access to the outer and inner parapets. This one metre wide parapet allows you to walk completely round the dome from where you can admire the panorama of Charleroi.
Group visits are agreed by appointment.