Brabo and Antwerpen legend
In the middle of the 'Grote Markt' stands the Brabo fountain. This area is obviously one not to be missed!
Sculptor Jef Lambeaux made it in 1887. A legend behind it and the name of the city "(H)Antwerpen":
A terrible giant, called Druoon Antigoon, lived on the banks of Scheldt river in old times. He "is reported" to cut hands of sailors on the Scheldt river which refused to pay toll to him. It didn't work on Silvius Brabo though. This Roman soldier managed to kill Antigoon. He cut off the hand of the giant , threw the hand away in the river. Untrue, of course!!
Thus, according to this legend, the name of the city : hand ( Engl.: hand) -werpen (Engl.: to throw).
The real meaning of Antwerpen derived from its "functionality": Antwerpen is a place where one used to download goods and commodities (werpen meaning the action of downloading, throwing). Personnally, I see more the connection with German "Anwerfen" ... More evident, he? This one is my favourite statue of Brabo: tiny and towering on a nice metal artwork... You will find it near the cathedral
Btw, "Antwerpen" reminds me of a channel in Madagascar: Ampanalana channel or Lakandranon' Ampanalana. "Ampanalana" means "place(s) where to download, get rid of goods (commodities)". In fact, there were many of those entries since the channel is of 700-km length. But the whole channel was named after its functionality.
Light a candle
This is something you can do in most churches and cathedrals, all right.
But I usually never do it, and I don't know why, I felt so good inside this magnificent temple that I decided to light one. It's always good to stop to meditate for a while in the middle of all the sightseeing and photos rush :)
The Antwerp city hall is an Italian style renaissance building from the 16th century. Check out the paintings as well as the chimney erected in 1548. The mayor and the magistrates actually still have their offices in the city hall so it's not always possible to visit the inside. On Saturdays you can generally have a guided tour around 2pm or 3 pm. The city hall is situated in the center of the old city at the Grote Markt, behind the Brabo fountain.
SHOPPING IN ANTWERP.Opposite...
SHOPPING IN ANTWERP.Opposite the Central Station you will find China Town.The Van Wesenbekestraat and the Coninckplein boast a variety of specialized shops and supermarkets selling chinese and thai foods and many other exotic products.
The shopping streets just to the south and the west of the Meir stock a wide range of exclusive fashion labels as well as utility articles.
The shopping streets just to the south and the west of the Meir stock a wide range of exclusive fashion labels as well as utility articles. This area comprises the Huidevettersstraat, the pedestrian de Wilde Zee (with the Wiegstraat, Groendalstraat, Schrijnwerkersstraat, Korte Gasthuisstraat and the Lombardenvest), the chic and and amazingly varied Schuttershofstraat and the Quartier Latin, dominated by the beautifully restored Bourla theatre. Do not miss the brand-new Horta complex, which has recently appeared near the Stadsschouwburg (theatre) (Hopland side), with its stylish boutiques, an art gallery and a grand café with large art-nouveau dining area. Elements from the Brussels Volkshuis (social centre), built to a design by Victor Horta, have been incorporated into the grand café.
For valuable antiques and objets d’art make for the Leopoldstraat with its attractive Botanical Garden, for the Schutterhofstraat and the Steenhouwersvest. The official Antwerp antiquarians will be able to provide you with a leaflet outlining a walk that leads from one antique shop to another. Beyond the stylish Leopoldplaats, with the majestic National Bank, and accross the other side of the wide boulevard (Britselei), be sure to explore the Mechelsesteenweg. Besides antique shops, here you will find interior design specialists, shops selling modern furniture, accesories for the home, irresistible gifts and original creations.
Lovers of bric-à-brac, curiosities, old books and prints should target the little shops in the Hoogstraat and the Kloosterstraat, the Wolstraat and the Minderbroedersrui.
The Eiermarkt, Melkmarkt, Korte Koepoortstraat, Lange Koepoortstraat, Klapdorp and Paardenmarkt is one long chain of shopping streets. Sint-Katelijnevest is the shoppingstreet specialized in electronic equipment, computers and all kinds of office requisites. No other city spoils gourmets and bon viveurs as Antwerp does with its innumerable indoor and street cafés, each with its own character, and its several hundred restaurants of all categories.
In the busy shopping streets, you´ll find all kinds of temptations, including those much-prized Antwerp pralines.
Walk a little further on the...
Walk a little further on the Leopold Street (leave the hospital on the right) and you find this statue of King Leopold I, the first King of Belgium. NOTE: the cables you see are from the trams that driving around the city. Ugly ;-)