December 02, 2008

Robert Garcet, La tour d´Eben Ezer/The Eben-Ezer Tower

pictures (april 2010) by Inky van Swelm

Dominating the rural area around Eben-Emael, north of Liège in Belgium, the Eben-Ezer Tower is an exceptional creative construction, full of symbolism, made single-handedly by a man who worked it for over ten years.

Life and works

Robert Garcet (1912-2001) was born in Mons, a city in the south of Belgium. At age 18 he moved from this city to the Jeker-area in in the north-east of Belgium, north of Liège and south of Maastricht, where he got a job as a labourer in the quarries in that area.

Eventually Garcet would become owner of a silex-quarry.

He was very interested in geology, nature, the history of mankind and biblical studies and he wrote a lot of books (in french) on these subjects, in which he developed a personal vision of the creation of man.

Robert Garcet was a pacifist and after World War II, around 1947, he began making plans to construct a big tower as a symbol of peace for mankind.

In 1953 he actually began its construction, which would take him over ten years to complete. With the occasional help of friends a 33 m (108 ft) high tower arose, mainly made from silex building-stones.

The dimensions of the tower are related to classical numerological principles. So the sacred number seven is reflected in the four sides of the tower which each measure 7.77 meter, while the tower has seven floors. The structure itself contains a lot of sybolism: the first floor is the earth, the seventh is heaven.

On the corners at the top four sculptures are displayed impersonating characters of the the biblical book the Apocalyps (a bull, a lion, an eagle and an angel).

When visiting the tower one first passes the huge outside staircase and then one enters the room of the Cherubs with angels sculpted along a central column, murals representing biblical stories and a sculpted representation of the biblical book the apocalyps.

The grounds beneath the tower contain an old network of corridors, like an old quarry. Garcet has interpreted this as a ca 70 million years old village and in his opinion the inhabitants of that village occupied themselves with sculpting silex-stones into impersonations of people and animals.

This may be apogryphal.

Garcet's find however, in 1958, of the skeleton of a mosasaurus, a snake-like reptile with swimfins, should be authentic.

This underground area partly has been distorted by a mining explosion. The remainder can not be visited by the public.

* This very special art environment, nowadays managed by a foundation, houses a museum, le musée du silex, which informs the public about Garcet's work and vision. Its website includes a biography and a bibliography.

Exposition 2012
* Because in 2012 it was hundred years ago Garcet was born, an exposition has been organized, focused upon Garcet's thinking, at the Art) & (Marges museum in Brussels (25/10/2012 - 27/01/2013)

Documentation, more pictures
* Robert Garcet appears  in Jarvis Cocker's Journeys into the Outside (1999, on Youtube in 2012, see my post of august 23, 2012)
 * Markus May, Die Legende vom Feuerstein (The legend of the silex) and Ein Turm aus lebenden Steinen (A tower from living stones), in gerrnan but with many pictures; these books can be navigated from the website)
* Markus May, Die Steine der Apokalypse (The stones of the apocalyps), documentary movie, uploaded may 2010, Youtube, in 8 parts, german spoken
* A 1.50 min video on Youtube (english spoken), uploaded may 2008 by the Moulin du Broukay, a centre in Eben-Emael documenting the archeological and industrial history of the area.

* French filmmakers and photographers Clovis and Claude Prévost made movies of the Eben-Ezer site: La légende du silex de Robert Garcet, 1993, 41.40" and Eben-ezer, la tour de l'apocalyps, 1979, 27.50". These are available via INA-France.
* Video Une vie pour Eben-Ezer by Philippe Ory (2012, 15'10", available on Vimeo)

first published dec 2008, revised aug, oct 2012, apr 2014, feb sep  2016

Robert Garcet
La tour d´Eben Ezer 
Eben Emael Belgium
in general open on afternoons from 13.30 - 17.00 
(may close later in summer and in weekends, see their website)

Tour de Robert Garcet
weergeven op een grotere kaart

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