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Aywaille (Municipality, Province of Liège, Belgium)

Last modified: 2008-06-21 by ivan sache
Keywords: aywaille |
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Presentation of Aywaille and its villages

The municipality of Aywaille (11,094 inhabitants on 1 July 2007; 7,997 ha) is located 20 km south of Liège, in the lower valley of the river Amblève. The municipality of Aywaille is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Aywaille, Ernonheid, Harzé and Sougné-Remouchamps.

The name of Aywaille alludes to its location on the Amblève: in Walloon, êye means "water" while wayî means "to ford"; the Romanic form of the name of the town, Aqualia, based on the Latin word aqua, "water", is the origin of the name given to the inhabitants of Aywaille, the Aqualiens.
In spite of very ancient settlement, Aywaille appeared in a written form for the first time only in 1088, when Régina of Oltingen, owner of the free domain (alleu) of Aywaille, transfered all her goods to the powerful abbey of Cluny. The monks founded a priory dedicated to St. Peter and appointed a manager (avoué) who lived in the castle of Montjardin. Aywaille belonged to the Duchy of Luxembourg but was located close to the borders with the Principalities of Liège and Stavelot and with the Duchy of Limburg. Accordingly, the town was often plundered and burned down. In 1594, Aywaille was transferred to the Jesuits, who ruled it until the suppression of the order by Emperor Joseph II in 1773; Aywaille was sold in 1784 to the Baron of Rahier, who was expelled by the French revolutionaries. In the middle XIXth century, Aywaille was modernized and became a popular vacation place.

Ernonheid belonged to the County of Logne, part of the Principality of Stavelot. It was divided between several families vassal of the Prince-Abbot. Like in Harzé, iron was extracted and worked in Ernonheid until the XVIIIth century. After the French Revolution, Ernonheid became the smallest municipality (150 inhabitants; 446 ha) of the Province of Liège.

Harzé was mentioned for the first time in a document of the abbey of Stavelot dated 890. The village probabbly developed around a fortress built on a spur dominating the Wayai and watching the plains through which the Northmen and Magyars sere expected to arrive. Harzé was incorporated to the County of Montaigu-en-Ardenne, part of the Duchy of Luxembourg. The castle of Harzé, rebuilt in the XVIIIth century, housed the headquarters of the US Army from 29 October 1944 to 31 May 1946; it houses today the Provincial Museum of Milling and Bakery.
Iron was extracted in Harzé from the XIVth to the XVIIIth century and there were several forges powered by the brook Lembrée. Nothing has remained of the pre-industrial hamlets of Avéricois, El Barier and Les Pouhons, but the St. Ann chapel. Harzé became an independent municipality in 1830.

Sougné was considered by some historians as the capital of the Segne tribe mentioned by Julius Caesar. After the French Revolution, the French rulers incorporated the villages of Remouchamps, Nonceveux, Sédoz and Quarreux to the municipality of Aywaille, whereas Sougné and Sur-la-Heid were incorporated to Sprimont. The latter two villages were incorporated to Aywaille in 1836; in 1921, Sougné-Remouchamps became an independent municipality.
The cave of Remouchamps, nicknamed La Merveille des Merveilles, was opened to the public in 1829; in 1832, Captain Schols published the first illustrated guide promoting the cave, which is made of two superimposed galleries of a length of 2,800 m and the longest underground river in the world (600 m) open to the public.

In the place called Les Fonds de Quarreux; the Amblève has eroded the sandstone so that its bed is clustered with quartzit blocks. Indeed, the miller Hubert Chefneux was offerred by the devil a wonderful wind mill; the price to pay was, of course, his soul. His wife was aware of the pact and hid inside the mill, holding a miraculous medal from Notre-Dame of Dieupart. The wheels of the mill could never turn and the angry devil broke the mill into pieces, which fell down to the river.
The Pas de Saint-Remacle (St. Remacle's footrpint) recalls that St. Remacle, once walking from St. Roch to Stavelot via Quarreux, sat on a rock. He bathed his tired feet into the water that was available in a hollow of the rock; since then, there is always some water in the hollow, even during drought.

Source: Municipal website, including Aperçu historique de la commune d'Aywaille, by Étienne Compère

Ivan Sache, 19 May 2007

Municipal flag of Aywaille

According to According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones, Aywaille has no flag.
The municipal arms of Aywaille, as shown on the municipal website, were confirmed by the Executive of the French Community on 21 April 1983, with the following description:
Parti au 1 burelé d'argent et d'azur, de dix pièces au lion de gueules couronné, armé et lampassé d'or, à la queue fourchue et passée en sautoir (qui est Luxembourg), au 2 d'argent au lion de gueules, couronné, armé et lampassé d'or à la queue fourchue et passée en sautoir (qui est Limbourg), l'écu posé devant un saint Pierre tenant de la dextre une clef, le panneton en haut et tourné à l'extérieur et de la senestre un livre fermé, le tout d'or (Per pale Luxembourg and Limburg, the shield supported by a St. Peter holding dexter a key sinister a book all or.)

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 19 May 2007

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