Infobox Belgium Municipality
mayor=Charles Michel (LB)
web= [http://www.wavre.be/ www.wavre.be]
Wavre is also called "the City of the Maca", referring to the statue of the small boy who tries to climb the wall of the city hall. Tradition holds that touching the Maca's
buttocksbrings a year of luck.
Roman and Medieval times
The foundations of a wealthy Roman
villawere found very close to Wavre, complete with a portico and many rooms. This part of Gaul, however, was ravaged by the Germanic invasions in the 3rd and 4th century, and it is only in the year 1050 that Wavre was mentioned for the first time, as a dependency of the County of Leuven, part of the Brabant pagus. The chapel built by the counts near the former Gallo-Romanvilla was ceded to the Affligem Abbeya few years later. By the 13th century a market already existed in the budding town built at the crossroads of the Brussels-Namur and Nivelles- Leuvenroads. In 1222, Henry I, Duke of Brabantgranted the town its city charter. At around the same time, the Affligem Abbey expanded its Wavre possessions into a priory, which attracted pilgrims from a wide region around the city.
16th- to 18th-century disasters
The relative peace of the city came to an end on
March 8, 1489, when Albert, Duke of Saxonytook it and pillaged it in retaliation for Wavre’s sympathy with Brabant’s revolt against Austria. From then on until the beginning of the 18th century, the city went through one disaster after another. Between the destruction by Charles, Duke of Gueldersin 1504 and that brought by Louis XIV’s wars around 1700, Wavre would know several debilitating crises, either at the hand of foreign armies ("e.g.", the Spanish in 1604) or because of epidemics (1624-1625, 1668) or major fires ( April 28, 1695and July 17, 1714). The 18th century was relatively prosperous, but a troubled period started again around 1790, with Wavre’s participation in the Brabant Revolution against Austrian interests. After the Battle of Fleurus (1794), the city became French. Like many of its neighbours, the city suffered from mandatory conscription, curtailment of religious freedoms, and the dissolution of the old administrative offices.
From Waterloo until now
June 18and 19, 1815, the Battle of Wavrewas fought here on the same day as the Battle of Waterloo. Napoleon had sent Marshal Grouchy to pursue part of the retreating Prussian army under the command of General Johann von Thielmann. Despite hearing the canon sound from nearby Waterloo, Grouchy decided to obey his orders and engage the one Prussian Corps in Wavre. By the time Grouchy’s battle was over, Napoleon had already lost at Waterloo.
The century that followed saw the expansion of local industry, including foundries, a paper mill, and a sugar refinery. Wavre was severely affected by both World Wars, with heavy fighting, bombing and several houses put on fire. Today, Wavre is enjoying renewed prosperity as the capital of the recently created (1995) province of Walloon Brabant.
*The Gothic-style church of St John the Baptist was built in 1475. Its main tower houses a 50-bell carillon.
*The city hall dates from the 18th century. It is housed in the former church of the
Carmelitesand features a cloistered courtyard.
*In 1975, the first Walibi amusement park, named after Wavre, Limal, and Bierge, opens its doors on the territory of Wavre. Since then, Walibi has become the largest amusement park in Belgium and spawned similar parks in France and the Netherlands. The park was once known as the best themepark in Europe and has over 1.000.000 visitors per year!
*The "Jeu de Jean et Alice" is a remake of a medieval play, more exactly a spoken, sung, and danced dialog between Jean and Alice, Lords of Wavre, and the city’s population. The play commemorates the granting of the charter to the city in 1222; it is now an elaborate production (with more than 500 participants) that takes place every five years.
*Since about 200 years ago, the "Grand Tour", a religious procession takes place every year on the Sunday that follows
June 24, feast of St John the Baptist, patron saint of the city.
*The city’s carnival includes a handful of traditional giants that take part in the festivities.
People born in Wavre
Maurice Carême, poet (1899–1978)
*Sœur Sourire ("The Singing Nun"), 1933–1985
Wavre is the location of a broadcasting facility for shortwave, medium wave, FM and TV of the Belgian broadcasting society. As aerial for medium wave a guyed steel framework mast is used. The aerials for FM and TV are on a free standing lattice tower. On
October 13, 1983a storm destroyed the main transmission mast for TV transmission.
Battle of Wavre
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