Located at the crossroads of Europe, Ath has a rich historical past and a unique piece of folklore and since 2005 has been recognised by UNESCO as a place of ‘intangible heritage’.
Midway between Brussels and Lille, Ath starts to vibrate during the fourth weekend of August, when a remarkable festival is held. Known as the ‘Ducasse’, it dates back to 1481 and features the biblical giant Goliath, four metres high, who has a thrilling fight with David in the Grand’Place.
Since the 19th century, the Ducasse has become secular as well as religious, reflecting the history of the region. Chariots and fanfares punctuate the noisy, colourful procession through the streets, with large crowds looking on.