Antwerp-around Central Station, Antwerp
As we were exiting Centraal Station, no doubt reading a map in one of our guidebooks, a local came up and suggested that if we liked architecture that we should visit the Antwerp Zoo, right next door to the Centraal Station. Antwerp's zoo is one of the world's oldest, opened in 1843.
At the front gates you can see the gold mosaic lion and tiger (see 2nd photo) and some interesting scuptures just past the gates after which you have to pay the stiff admission fee of 16.90E for adults so we passed on going any further. The Egyptian temple is supposed to be something to see but alas we just didn't have enough time in Antwerp to justify spending it at a zoo.
The synagoge in the Hovenierstraat, in the diamonddistrict is not special. The place is special tough. At 20 october 1981 a carbomb exploded here in front of the synagoge. Three people were killed and about hundred wounded.
This beautifull building is located in the Lange Herentalsestraat 48. It is named Gulden Spoor (golden spur). The statue on the facade is holding a golden spur. And that is all we know about it. Searching the internet didn't give any clues.
What we can find is the name Gulden Spoor. It comes from a battle on the 11th july 1302. In this battle the Flemish people won from the french army at Kortrijk. This battle is important for the Flemish pride. So maybe this facade is just a tribute.
Next to the Gulden Spoor you will find a metal melting place. It has this beautifull sculpture in the facade. Inside is a small factory that melts preciuos metals. The address is Lange Herentalsestraat 50.
At the Diamond High Council you can buy this package for 6.20 Euros.
It contains 4 walks:
The Diamond route,
The Jewellers route,
The Backstage route and
The Diamonds in Art route.
You can buy each walk seperately for 1,74 euros.
Tasting a local beer - (the pub has more than 100 different beers) in a unique surrounding,together with some VT-members
What do you need more?
I had a "Gluhwein"
Danielle a "Dulle Teve" - Tom a Flierefluiter - Suri (special guest from India) a trappist (Orval) and Goonie a "Divers" whatever this means - But Tom and Goonie are from the Netherlands - maybe because they use "0" euro coins !! LOL
Antwerp is famous for its diamonts. Since the 16th century diamonds were treated here. All these stones -that come especially from Soth Africa- get a special treatment (once invented by Lodewijk van Bercken)here until they get shiny and ready to be fit in jewels. You can find the diamond treating centres near the station.
The Antwerp Zoo. Its location - originally just outside the city walls, but now right in the heart of the city, next door to Central Station - is typical of its 19th century origins. This makes the zoo more special than a zoo somewhere else. It's also a bit like visiting the history of a zoo...
A total of more than 6,000 animals of 750 different sorts are living there near the station...
You can find the zoo at: Koningin Astridplein 26, 2018 Antwerp.
Antwerp with its concentration of Chassidic Jews,is sometimes regarded as the last Shtetl in Europe.This community are living around the pelikaanstraat ( next to the railroad) and the Belgielei and the surrounding streets.This neighborhood has also an adundance of kosher restaurants, food stores and Jewish book stores.
The Jewish involvement in the diamond trade there is such that the lingua franca on the Antwerp diamond exchanges is Yiddish.When a deal is made, both Jews and non-Jews, seal it by saying ' Mazel u bracha' (luck and blessing)Which has the value of a written agreement.
I got off the train from Brussels at the stop before Central Station and walked in via the Jewish area in Antwerp - I think there are about 55,000 Jews in the city. It's well worth a visit and show a wee bit more of the city than you'd normally see.
Anterp train station is a terminal; you'll reverse directions here so turn around in your seat if you're not getting off