18 June 1815. On that momentous day that changed the course of history, Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated by the Duke of Wellington who led a British force allied with several countries. It happened on the undulating plains of this town just a few kilometers outside of Brussels. The battle was fought fiercely under rainy conditions that churned the ground in the fields into a muddy quagmire making it extremely difficult for the two sides to use their cannons and cavalry. By employing a brilliant defensive strategy making use of the prevailing topography and backed up by the Prussians whom Napoleon thought was a spent force, the Brits routed the French which forced the Emperor of France to abdicate and go into exile. It also ushered in a long era of peace in the Continent.
At the site is a 43-meter high hill called the Lion’s Mound, built out of 300,000 cubic meters of earth from the battlefield itself which you can climb thru a 225-step concrete staircase to the top and view the surrounding farmland which still remains as it was 200 years ago. A huge cast-iron statue of a lion stands on a marble pedestal with its paw on a sphere signifying victory and courage. There is also an amphitheater where you can view a circular mural depicting the battle with a surround sound system. It is a delightful place to visit specially for amateur history buffs like me.