In the twelfth century already, the poet Henric van Veldeke sang about the beautiful
environment of Maastricht. Of course there has always been much interaction between Maastricht
and its neighbourhood. Maastricht was the market town and a place for refugees in times of war.
There were many refugee houses in the town, for instance the large 'hof van Tilly'.
Via the Helpoort (Hellgate) and the Pieterspoort, people went to Sint-Pieter and Liege. In
Sint-Pieter there were agriculture, fruit and marl-pits. During a siege all the little houses in the
field of fire had to be pulled down.
Via the Tongersepoort, people went aloft to Vroenhoven and Tongeren. In Maastricht there
were invisible juridical frontiers with Vroenhoven.
Through the old and new Brusselsepoort people went to Bilsen (with the castle Aldenbiesen) and
Via the Hochterpoort, people went to den Bosch, along the canal called Zuid-Willemsvaart.
East of the river Maas, people went via the Sint-Maartenspoort to Meerssen (with the landhouses
of the rich manufacturer Regout) and to Valkenburg.
Via the Duitse poort people went to Aachen over the plateau of Margraten through a
beautifull hilly landscape.