La Roche en Ardenne Castle
La Roche en Ardenne Castle lies above the village of the same name in the Ardennes region in Belgium.
The ruins of this medieval castle lie on a rocky outcrop dominating the green valley which is nestled in a loop formed by the river Ourthe and the steep sides of the Deistermountain. The ruins, dating back to the 11th century, look gloomy but impressive, emphasized by the roughly piled slate walls.
From the 12th century on the castle took a strategic place in the development and defence of trade and it got to be a halting place in the trading route of English wool to Lombardia in present Italy.
The castle was conquered by the French in 1681 who rebuild the castle so that it could withstand the new artillery.
The castle was inhabited until 1780 when it was abandoned. It quickly fell to ruin when in the 19th century it was stripped of all useful materials by the villagers of La Roche.
In 1903 during superficial excavations, inside the castle walls, pieces of polished flint, a whetstone and several shards of prehistoric pottery were discovered. Also, in 1954 a Roman coin minted in the 4th century was found. In 1995 more serious excavation works started. Proof was found that the castle site once housed a Celtic Oppidum and a Roman fort.
This is a very attractive ruined castle in a touristic little village. In summer it is the stage of demonstrations with different birds of prey and after dark a very nice show with music and colored lights. Also very attractive in winter when bad weather and mist make the castle very ominous.