54 BCE - Ambiorix and his brave Eburones
The most famous inhabitant of Tongeren is undoubtedly Ambiorix. This Eburone king inflicted such a devastating defeat upon the occupying Romans that Julius Caesar called the Belgians the bravest of all the Gauls … before going on to crush them. Ambiorix managed to escape and disappeared. He was not seen again until 1866, when he turned up in Tongerens Main Market...as a statue!
2nd century CE - Roman prosperity and a walled city
Under Roman rule, Atuatuca Tungrorum grew into one of the largest trading cities in Northern Gaul. The Roman passion for building underscores the importance of this strategic location. You can still see the remains of the aqueduct, Roman temple and impressive defence wall around the city to this day. The wall is 6 metres high, 2 metres thick and 4544 metres longs. Unfortunately it has crumbled over the centuries.... just like Roman influence. But the fall of Rome was not enough to stop Tongerens growth.
11th century CE - Medieval drama
Tongeren recovered, and was once more buzzing with craftspeople and lively commercial districts. Work on a new wall started in the 13th century. Towers and entrance gates – built using Roman silex blocks – protected the city from intruders. Cloisters, churches and a beguinage graced the city centre until a huge fire reduced the centre to ashes in 1677.
1830 CE - Modern charm
Tongeren struggled to recover from the blow dealt by The Great Fire. It was not until 1830 – when the new country of Belgium was founded – that Tongeren flourished once more, rising like a phoenix from the ashes.
2018 CE - Lively city
Nowadays, Tongeren is once more a lively place where the spirit of the Romans, innovative city projects and a buzzing economy create a vibrant atmosphere. Come see for yourself!