Places of Interest nearby
Location address: 8500, Kortrijk, Sint-Maartenskerkstraat
Number of texts: 2
The origins of the church of Saint Martin go back to the 7th century. Around 650, the first chapel was constructed; without a doubt it was consecrated to Saint Martin. The chapel was probably laid waste during the invasions of the Normans in 850 and 879. However, few things are known with certainty about the period preceding the 12th century. And yet the foundations of another church have been discovered under the current building. It is possible that these foundations date from the 13th century.
Around 1270-1280, a major Gothic church was erected in the spot where the old church was located.
The north part of the choir, two archways and three pillars remained intact until after the fire of 1862. Eight years later the choir was rebuilt according to the model of the 17th century; on the same occasion, it was raised to 20 m.
The west part was demolished and rebuilt in the Neo-Gothic style, while in the north part a chapel to the Holy Sacrament was erected.
In October 1918, the tower was severely damaged by bombs. In 1958, a new Neo-Baroque chapel was constructed against the west façade.
The carillon was completely renovated. The most recent restoration of the church began in 1978. The jewel of the church is ‘the triptych of the Holy Spirit’ by Bernard de Rijckere from 1587. The tower of the sacrament, incomparable due to its dimension of 6.5 m in height, dates from 1585.
The original church dates from the 12th century, but it has been rebuilt and renovated many times over the years. Its interior is decorated with many valuable works of art such as the 16th century sacraments tower, paintings from Peter Paul Rubens’s school and the pulpit constructed in the 17th century. The church’s tower houses Kortrijk’s first fully-fledged 19th century carillon.