The history

The very first bells came from China in around 2,000 BC. After that they arose in Egypt before making their way to Greece and the Roman Empire before making an appearance in this region in the 5th century. The bells evolved and were soon used as a means for calling on the faithful and the citizens to gather. By the end of the 8th century Charlemagne even made it compulsory for bells to be rung in a belfry. Towards the close of the 13th century the bells were connected to mechanical timepieces, and by the 16th century wealthy cities such as Bruges were adorning their belfries with tower clocks. The technology was refined in the 17th century and by the 18th century the carillon became a musical instrument in its own right. In the wake of the destruction wrought by the French Revolution, it took almost a century to repair the damage. During the 20th century the art of campanology, as bell-ringing is also known, grew on an international scale. In November 2014 Unesco recognised the Belgian carillon culture as intangible cultural heritage.

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