Nijmegen (G): Valkhofpark
The Valkhofpark ("Falcon's
Court Park") is located on the site where until 1798 a castle
stood, built by Charlemagne, destroyed by Vikings and rebuilt
by emperor Frederick Barbarossa in 1155. After the French had
destroyed much of the castle in 1795, and because the city needed
money, the ruins of the castle in that year were sold and demolished
for the stones. Only a chapel and the remnants of another remain.
The 16-sided St.
Nicolaaskapel, originally a smaller copy of the chapel of
Charlemagne's palace in Aachen, for a long time was thought to
be one of the country's oldest buildings, dating from the late
8th century. It is now believed the chapel is less old, in fact
not having been built before the 11th century. That still makes
it one of the oldest buildings in the Netherlands. In the building's
front are its oldest parts, but as can be clearly seen the chapel
has had a few changes in both Romanesque and Gothic styles.
The remains of the choir of
the castle's 12th-century church stand at the other side of the
park. This Romanesque building was saved at the last moment,
as a reminder. It's known as the Barbarossa ruin.