Table o contents
Frankish oreegins an medieval period
The first hooses built in this forested area along the Geleysbeek, a tributary of the Senne, date frae the 7t century. The veelage’s first kirk wis dedicatit tae Dionysius the Areopagite. The legend o Saunt Alena, a young convert tae Christianity murthered bi her faither’s troops for hearin mass at the kirk o Dionysius, an aa allegedly takes place in the 7t century. The chapel an cult o Saunt Alena, housomeivver, date anerlie frae the 12t century. The saunt’s cenotaph, ane o the rare examples o 12t-century sculptur in Belgium, can still be admired in the chapel the day. The contiguous kirk o Saunt Denis (Dionysius) wis rebuilt in the Romanesque style at aroond the same time.
The abbots o Affligem, which haed been the ecclesiastical awners o the parish synce the bishop o Cambrai cedit it tae them in 1105, decidit tae build a priory for weemen in Forest, Forest Abbey. The first abbess of the Forest priory was named in 1239. An aa in the 13t century, the Romanesque kirk o Saunt Denis wis rebuilt in the newer Gothic style. The neighbourin abbatial kirk wis rebuilt in the 15t century.
17t century till the day
Thanks tae its abbey, Forest prospered, especially durin the reigns o Airchdukes Albert an Isabella. On Mairch 26, 1764, housomeivver, a devastatin fire ruined some o the biggins an destroyed mony o its airtwirks. Three decades later, in the years that follaeed the French Revolution, the releegious community wis disbandit, the nuns forced tae flee, an the biggins sauld. The Forest municipality bought the abbey in 1964 an proceedit tae restore it tae its previous glory.
- The kirk o Saint Denis an the adjoinin chapel o Saunt Alena hoose unique specimens o Romanesque sculpture. The nearbi Benedictine abbey is nou hame tae a cultural centre.
- The Art Deco toun haw, built in 1925 an inauguratit in 1938, is no far frae the auld historic centre.
- A kirk dedicatit tae Saunt Augustine wis built in Forest, on the Place de l'Altitude Cent / Hoogte Honderdplein (a square named due tae its altitude ane hunder meters abuin sea level), an aa in an Art Deco style.
- Feenally, the municipality maintains several green auries, includin the Duden Park an the aptly named Forest Park.
Events an Folklore
- The sprawlin “Forest National” (Dutch: “Vorst Nationaal”) center is well kent in the warld o show business, airts an cultur, as ane o the prime venues for internaitional starn performances.
- The abbey welcomes everyone in September tae a three-day lang “Medieval Celebration”, where hosts an visitors alike are dressed as knichts, burghers, sodgers, an a variety of other medieval attire. Typical activities include watchin assortit magicians, jugglers an fire-eaters, listenin tae muisickers perform on period instruments, appreciatin auld-time crafts, an tastin forgotten drinks an dishes.
- Syne 1987 Forest haes giant puppets o its awn: Nele an Pauline, baith baptized at the abbey, an their childer, Alida an Paville.
- Stuart Merrill, American poet (1863-1915)
- Jean Delville, seembolist painter, writer, an occultist (1867-1953)
- Paul Vanden Boeynants, politeecian (1919-2001)
- Raymond Goethals, fitbaa coach (1921-2004)