ANTWERP : THE 'GROTE MARKT'...
ANTWERP : THE 'GROTE MARKT'
Not as big as the 'Grand'Place' of Brussels, but certainly as beautiful is the 'Grote Markt' (= Town Square) of Antwerp. Here is still the heart of the old city. The Grote Markt is beautifully surrounded by the Town Hall and the so-called houses of the Guilds or corporations. In the background the tower of Our Lady's Cathedral completes the magnificent view.
The houses of the Guilds are unfortunately not the original ones. A large part of the Grote Markt burned down in 1576. Most of the houses were rebuilt afterwards by Hans Vredeman, the town architect, in Flemish Renaissance style. In the 19th century the houses were again renovated. The house number 7 is one of the most beautiful. It was the house of the guild of Archers and is crowned by the statue of St. George. The house number 25 , a reconstruction of a house that used to stand at the 'Meir' is situated on the spot were an Inn used to stand. This Inn was mentioned in the medieval play of 'Marieken van Nieumwhegen'. Nowadays the Grote Markt is one of the most pleasant squares in the city (certainly since traffic has been banned from it). During beautiful warm summer days most people choose this spot to enjoy a refreshing beer from one of the many terraces.
Antwerp, a church city
Antwerp is what I call a church city. Churches everywhere, each one having some specificty. Please, notice that I only visited one of them but intend to visit some of them in a near future. Amongst the most important, find those:
The most important has its cathedral status: Onze Lieve-Vrouwkathedraal. It is located on Groundplaats. It spreads out on 1 ha. It is the biggest gothic cathedral of the old Low Countries (Belgium and Holland). Venerated since 9 centuries, it is Antwerp symbol. With its 123 meters high spire and strange bulb cupola, it can be seen from wherever you are in Antwerp area. I like the tower design, like a lacework in stone...
Carrolus Borromeus kerk... A lot to say: an exuberant baroque façade, in a style adopted by the Jesuits. It is located on Conscienceplaats, formerly known as Jezuitsplaats. It is reported to be partly the work of P.P.Rubens. For me, the most beautiful of what I saw. It has a tower of 58 meter height. Its name came from it was dedicated to the Italian archbishop Borromeo. The interior is said to be of an unbelievable wealth. Nevertheless, it had to pay a heavy toll to a grand fire in 1718 (39 ceiling paintings of Rubens). Interior is said to be somptuous with wide range of colours as for marble pieces... and worth noticing, it took the Jesuits some 7 years to build it. Imagine, only seven years. The Carolus Borromeus church uses to host sacred music concerts that are reported to attract melomans of all cultures, Christians and non-Catholics alike.
Sint Jacobskerk. It is the tomb of the Prince of Painting, Peter Paul Rubens. The Church has twenty-three altars. Rubens’ tomb lies behind the main altar in the Chapel of Our Lady. The painting ‘Our Lady surrounded by saints’ was painted by him for his burial monument. The only church I visited up to now in Antwerp is Sint Andrieskerk. For me, it may have been the most touching since it was designed for miserable people. I will return there for better pictures and more learning.
Sint Andrieskwartier is the area where Hendrik Conscience was born (XIX century). He is the first author who wrote in Flemish... very prolific and is said "to have taught Flemish people to read". Given his backgrounds, one can easily guess some dark, moralistic and romantic touch in him.
I saw there some eclectical interior setting: woodcurving, iron-stained glass, impressive embroidery... and a gown designed by Ann Demeulemesteer, on Virgin Mary, of course. This is the most unknown of Antwerp's churches though it contains some pieces of art. Like this baroque high altar, which originated from the former Cistercian Abbey of St. Bernard in Hemiksem. Some pictures would be in an upcoming Tlog.
And by the way, do you now Antwerp's second cathedral? Drop me a line or look for answer through my must-see activities.. :-)
Every time you visit Antwerp you should stop at the Grote Markt and greet the statue of Brabo. This little hero was a sailor who was navigating his ship down the river Scheldt. He had planned to sail past Antwerp with his cargo but there was an evil giant stopping every ship and demanding money to let them continue their journey. Brabo fought the giant, cut off the giant's hand and threw it in the water.
This story explains where the name of the city of Antwerp comes from. 'Hand werpen' in Flemish means 'throwing a hand'.
CATHEDRAL OF OUR LADY
Built between 1352 and 1521, an incredible 170 year span, the CATHEDRAL OF OUR LADY or Onze Lieve Vrouw Kathedral, boasts a 123 metre high tower.
A masterpiece of lace work in stone, the magnificent Tower of the Cathedral contains a carillon of 47 bells.
Located on Handschoenmarkt, the Cathedral is clearly visible from most areas of the city.
Inside, you will find some world-famous paintings by Peter Paul Rubens, including " The Elevation of the Cross" -- "The Descent of the Cross" -- "The Assumption" and "The Resurrection"
Admission to the Cathedral is 2 Euros for Adults.
visit the flee markets!
visit the flee markets!
the one at the picture is held every Sunday at the square 't Sand, Sint Pietersvliet. It is fun to go through all the old stuff (and second hand stuff).
Maybe you can buy yourself a few beerglasses to take with you?
They might be less expensive then the ones you buy in the regular shop... except if the model is old and became a collector's item!