La Porte du Ciel
Even though it has lost its dome, the abbey tower has been the undisputed ruler of the domain since the XVIIth century. At a height of 54 m it is an ideal location for overseeing the near and distant surroundings (mountains, Soignies, even up to Tournai when the weather is clear). At his feet, on the side of the pond, huddled behind a tunnel of green, a low door, covered by a heavy curtain, provides access to the crypt. Allow your eyes a few moments to get used to the dark, after which you will notice that the location is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture with beautifully restored vaulted arches and a remarkable family of bats.
First a word about the location, the original crypt. This used to be a part of an earlier parish church, which could have been levelled to the ground when the abbey was founded. A pantry serving as cooling cellar? The resemblance with the cooling cellars of the former Burgundian cisterian abbey: the same refined styling, the same striving for harmony and balance, the same masonry. The crypt is connected to the underground vaults of the domain, which clearly was an escape route (Ath, Mons) in the event of a siege. Cambron Street in Ath bears silent witness to this.
In 2003 this building won the Cadus prize for the renovation completed here, which is a recognition of the maintenance of the Walloon heritage.
The Crypt in image
This world's activitiesYour season pass as of 64€
A raptor exhibition is the perfect illustration of all that man ever admired as these birds rise above all others, with their majestic, worthy appearance. More info
Oasis and its animals
The Oasis is a huge conservatory (7,000 m2) where the roof can be opened during spells of nice weather and closed when the weather is cold and rainy, while still allowing daylight to enter. More info
Here, more than elsewhere, it is worthwhile to take your time and slow down. This is a piece of paradise on earth, with a fragile and delicate balance, a sanctuary of beautiful birds and with a wealth of colour as if you are in a dream. More info
The treasure chamber
In the crypte of the bats, you can now discover a unique collection of objects from all over the world. More info