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Maastricht Romanesque stone sculpture is regarded as one of the highlights of Mosan art.Maastricht painters were praised by Wolfram von Eschenbach in his Parzival.Maastricht has 1677 national heritage buildings (Rijksmonumenten), the second highest number in the Netherlands, after Amsterdam.The town is popular with tourists for shopping and recreation, and has a large international student population.In 1579 the city was sacked by the Spanish army under general Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma (Siege of Maastricht, 1579).For over fifty years the Spanish crown took over the role of the dukes of Brabant in the joint sovereignty over Maastricht.Of a later date are Palaeolithic remains, between 8,000 and 25,000 years old.

According to Gregory of Tours it was bishop Monulph who, around 570, built the first stone church on the grave of Servatius, the present-day Basilica of Saint Servatius.Throughout the Middle Ages, the city remained a centre for trade and manufacturing of wool and leather but gradually economic decline set in.After a brief period of economic prosperity around 1500, the city's economy suffered during the wars of religion of the 16th and 17th centuries, and recovery did not happen until the industrial revolution in the early 19th century.It is not known when the Romans arrived in Maastricht, or whether the settlement was founded by them.The Romans built a bridge over the Meuse in the 1st century AD, during the reign of Augustus Caesar.

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Soon afterwards the first ring of medieval walls were built.

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