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Pliniuspark Tongeren/ The myth of the source / Tongeren/ B/ Feb 2019
The myth of the source
The Pliny source is a source, named after Pliny the Elder (24-79 AD). This Roman encyclopedist reported in his ‘Naturalis historia’ a water source in the area of the Tungri, a tribe in Gallia Belgica: “At the Tungri is a remarkable source that tingles with lots of water bubbles and tastes like rust, which one only becomes aware of when it is drunk. The water cleanses the body and heals the third-day fever and the pain of kidney stones.” Since the sixteenth century this source has been equated with a ferrous source at Tongeren. This source is located about two kilometres north of the city centre, in the direction of Hasselt in the Pliniuspark. The water is ferruginous and was also described as healing in medieval writings: “zij die leden aen daghse kortse, het graveel, bloetspouwen of andere quaelen” sought liberation from their ailments. The source became so famous that both French King Louis XV and Napoleon came to quench their thirst, but then fell into oblivion.
For a long time there was a well at the Pliniuspark where people came to rest and drink from the healing water. In 2007, the Plinius site became a theme park. ‘Ooit Tongeren’ set up by the owners of Land van Ooit was opened in Tongeren on 16 June 2007 and went bankrupt three months after the opening on 28 August. It was a fairy-tale world in Tongeren with pronounced Roman accents. The amusement park was built on an area of 16 hectares. After the bankruptcy, the city decided to create a park with a source and combine it with a tourist reception for recreation in the area and in the city of Tongeren. The reception is combined with an outdoor swimming pool, restaurant, party room, terrace, camper place, jog track, playground, info-point and event area.
How does a park originate? Parc des Buttes Chaumont was a former dumpsite in the middle of Paris. Because the site posed a threat to its environment, it has been turned into a park. The transformation of the Pliny site has been successful. The large green space with source and brook give the place a mythical quality.
For more information about the project look at the page projects/ portfolio.
architects VenhoevenCS achitecture + urbanism