Urban legend about former mayor's heart turns out to be TRUE

Urban legend that the HEART of a former mayor was buried within a Belgian city’s fountain turns out to be TRUE as restoration workers discover it

  • Heart of Verviers’ first mayor has been discovered buried in a little black box 
  • The council of Verviers posted an announcement describing the discovery
  • Pierre David was the mayor of Verviers from 1798 until his death in 1839  

The restoration of an ancient fountain has uncovered a box containing the heart of a beloved city mayor, confirming the truth of a long-rumoured legend that the city had a real human heart at its core.

The box was found at the Fontaine David, in the Place Verte of the city of Verviers, in the eastern Belgian province of Liege.

The council of Verviers posted an announcement on their web page describing the discovery.

The box containing the heart of former mayor Pierre David, pictured above, was found at the Fontaine David, in the Place Verte of the city of Verviers, in the eastern Belgian province of Liege

‘During the dismantling and renovation work of the David fountain (Place Verte), an astonishing discovery was made,’ they wrote. 

‘A box was found inside a hollowed-out stone containing the heart of Pierre David, first Mayor of Verviers in independent Belgium.’

The Verviers Alderman for Public Works, Maxime Degey, said the casket was found by the builders on August 20, and was ‘in really impeccable condition’.  

Fountaine David in Verviers where the box was discovered. The Verviers Alderman for Public Works, Maxime Degey, said the casket was found by the builders on August 20, and was ‘in really impeccable condition’

David was mayor of Verviers from 1798 until his death in 1839.

David governed the city during various regimes and after the revolution of 1830, made sure that peace returned to the city and oversaw, among other things, that Verviers had its own fire brigade and secondary school.

David died unexpectedly in 1839 at 58 and the local authorities reportedly decided to keep his heart.

A painting of Pierre David, who was mayor of Verviers from 1798 until his death in 1839

According to several historical accounts, the heart was kept in the town hall for 44 years until 1883, when it is said to have been buried in the heart of the city under the fountain.

The legend of the heart under the fountain has now been verified and it will be on display for visitors to come and see.

The little black box, which has not been opened, is now part of an exhibition on the first floor of the Museum of Fine Arts in Rue Renier in a space specially designed in memory of the city’s first mayor, which also includes documents from the municipal archives.

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