Quieter This Time
Fort de la Chartreuse
Located in Liège, Belgium
Photo © 2006 Tom Kirsch, opacity.us
Fort de la Chartreuse History
This fortification was was built in 1817 by the Dutch to protect the city of Liège, and is located along the river Meuse. During the Belgian Revolution in 1830, the fort became under control of the new, independent country of Belgium, and was used as a barracks. Germany invaded Belgium during the first world war in August 1914; Chartreuse was to acquire a somber reputation as it was used as a prison for hundreds of Belgians who tried to resist. 49 people were executed on site and buried, and a memorial stands at the main gate in their honor.
In 1919 after the war, additions were made to the fort and its use as a barracks was reinstated, and at some points the fort held over 2,000 men. The fort fell under German control once again during the second world war, and from 1940 to 1944 Chartreuse served as a barracks for the German army. In 1945-1955, the fort operated as the 28th U.S. Army General Hospital during the Ardennes offensive. In 1982, the Belgium army abandoned the fort, leaving it as a haven for homeless and even a dumping ground for the occasional dead body. The police have since swept through the fort and have taken measures to secure the site since.
A caretaker with a rottweiler guard dog currently patrols the property. Part of the fort was demolished in February 2006, and the future of the rest is uncertain.