Written By: LFG
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Several hundred years ago, grand castles were a common sight to see around European countries. While there is still a decent number currently left standing, there’s a couple of structures that are left forgotten with time. One of which is the scenic Château Miranda, or simply Miranda Castle, located in the province of Namur, Belgium. With its ostentatious lawns and beautiful Neo-Gothic design, one can’t help but wonder why it was abandoned.
In 1866, the Liedekerke-De Beaufort family commissioned an English architect named Edward Milner to develop the design plan for Miranda Castle. The esteemed aristocrats used to reside in another place called Vêves Castle, but their political connections forced them to leave due to the French Revolution. It was said that the family had to hide in a farm to avoid capture by the village outskirts. Unfortunately for Architect Millner, he never got the chance to see his hard work in its completion after he passed away in 1884. Another architect, a Frenchman named Pelchner, took over the task and added more details to Milner’s original idea. Finally, the castle was complete upon the clock tower’s construction in 1907. Count Liedekerke-De Beaufort was pleased with the finished project and declared the majestic palace as their official summer home.
Over time, Miranda Castle not only served as a residence for the Liedekerke-De Beauforts, but also to some German troops in World War II. Like a real fairy-tale castle, the vast grounds served as a battlefield during the Battle of the Bulge, an offensive campaign led by the Germans. The Liedekerke-De Beaufort family then vacated the castle after the war ended.
A Home for Children
The castle served another purpose in the 1950s when the National Railway Company of Belgium (NMBS) took over the area and used it as a camp for impoverished and sickly children, but at the same time, it was a holiday destination for other kids from nearby regions such as Italy. It was a great way to utilize the humongous space as they took in as many as 200 children aged 5 to 14 years old. There was plenty of room for play, and fresh air was abundant. Little renovations were made to accommodate and entertain the young occupants, transforming the large fountain into a pool instead.
During that time, the castle was renamed to Château de Noisy (Noisy Castle), a name so apt considering the ruckus the children must make inside its walls. But in the late 1970s, it was fully known as a place where children could spend the summer holidays playing various sports and activities.
The Decaying Beauty of Miranda Castle
Sadly, the opulence of the castle was short-lived as it was entirely abandoned in 1991 when it became too costly to maintain. The owners initially hoped to transform the castle into a bed and breakfast or hotel, yet their plans failed when there were no investors who took an interest in it. The local government of Celles reportedly offered to take over just to keep Miranda Castle’s former splendor, but the family refused to let it go. As such, the structure was left to rot and eventually become damaged. Aside from being subjected to forces of nature, the castle became a subject for vandalism. Curious people would often sneak in and vandalize whatever is left inside.
The majority of the ceiling was slowly destroyed and started to collapse after a fire broke out in 1995. Because of this, the luxurious Italian blue marble and hardwood floors were removed and reused in another château. To make matters worse, a violent storm in 2006 proved to be the final nail in the coffin after it finally caused the entire roof to collapse.
Miranda Castle Today
Miranda Castle was never publicly opened as it was a dangerous place to visit. Still, that did not stop people from trespassing to take pictures of the castle. It also became the perfect place to film for its eerily beautiful facade. Hannibal, an American TV show, shot some episodes in the area. Not only that, but a Belgian movie also took advantage of the scenery and filmed there as well.
However, the constant intrusion of the nearby folk prompted the owners to file a demolition request. The decision shocked the locals and put up a counter-petition online to save it from full ruin. But as luck would have it, the government granted the owner’s request in 2015. Demolition activities began the following year, and Miranda Castle was completely destroyed in 2017.
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