For many years in the twentieth century, Antwerp’s Grote Markt was used as – you guessed it – a parking lot for automobiles. But now the cars have been banned so we can safely admire the historic Guild Houses without being run over or poisoned by exhaust fumes.
It turns out that the original Guild Houses on this site were destroyed by fire in 1576. They were rebuilt in Flemish renaissance style but were further decorated in the 19th century.
Second, third and fourth photos: In the summer of 2012, off in one corner of the Grote Markt, the city council set up this attractive square column of cloth posters showing a mother and child on bicycles. There was a slogan at the top that read:
Go voluit voor de zomer.
Spring op je fiets en beleef nog meer in ‘t stad.
As far as I can figure out, this means:
Go all out for the summer.
Jump on your bike and experience even more in the city.
If possible try to visit the square at different times of the day.
Early morning means that there are fewer people around with the Town Hall bathed in sunlight (hopefully)
As the sun moves around during the day the Guild Houses start to look their best and come the evening when the sun goes down and the floodlights come on, where better to sit for a drink and a chat?
The Main Square in the historic city area is called 'Grote Markt',it is within a short walk of the River Scheldt and here you will find many historic buildings such as City Hall and the Guild Houses.The Tourist information office is also located here and in the centre of the square sits the Brabo Fountain statue created by 'Jef Lambeaux',and built in 1887.There are many restaurants and cafe's here and in the winter an ice rink and Christmas Market.
The central square of Antwerp is called the Grote Markt – it is a large open space that, similar to the Grand Place in Brussels, is lined with the Town Hall and guild houses, many of which are shops and eateries.
We were there on an early Sunday morning and the square was still and quiet. Very few people were out and about, only a pedestrian or two heading to the bakery and a man sitting on a park bench reading the paper. In the center of the square is the Brabo Fountain, which stands in front of the Stadhuis, or town hall.
Looking around at the guild houses, the tallest one is the guild of the crossbowmen, identifiable by the St. George and his dragon on the top. Some of these houses date back to the 16th century and have gilded statues on the top of the gabled facades (although some have been rebuilt). The guilds were the administrative headquarters of the tradesmen (similar to a union) which enforced trading rules and standards.
The Grote Markt is just a block or so away from the Cathedral (visible above the guild houses) and near the water. Since Antwerp is a very walkable city, you can easily get to most places on foot from the train station.
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.
Even if the competition is really hard, it is easy to agree on the fact that the triangular Grote Markt of Antwerp is one of the most beautiful town squares in Belgium.
The Western side is presided by the Renaissance building of the City Hall, whereas the other two sides are lined with guild houses from different periods, heights and styles, which give the square a very dynamic rhythm, if retaining a great harmony at the same time.
Many of the houses date back to the late 16th century, when they were rebuilt after a great fire ravaged the city. Hans Vredeman was responsible, among other architects for the design of many of them. Many of them were thoroughly modified in the 19th century, when they were embellished to accommodate them to the fashion of that time.
The most attractive row of guild houses is on the North wing, where they anticipate the designs taken to perfection one century later in the Grand Place in Brussels. The south side is lined with much simpler houses, but the view is equally attractive, as they frame the slender tower of the cathedral which stands out in the background.
With cobbled streets, open air cafes, a magnificent City Hall in the background and the Guildhouses all around it, this market square ranks as the best in Belgium along with the Grand' Place in Brussels. Take time to sit down at one of the cafes at the square and just take in the beauty of your surrounding.
This is the cultural center of the city. The statue in the center of the square represents Antwerp's hero, who defeated a giant and freed the river Schelde that runs through the city. He lost his half arm at the fight and it fall into the River. On the one side of the markt you can sea the beautyful Guildhouses and the Townhall from 16th century. You can visit the town hall,dates to 1565, on a guided tour. The Townhall is decorated with Lady Justitia and Lady Prudentia .On the other side are Restaurants and shops. But beware ware , most of them are very touristical and not really cheap.
Any tour of Antwerp should include a visit to the Grote Markt, a lovely pedestrianized cobble stone square which is the center of the old town. Like all the other towns we visited in Belgium, the Grote Markt is something that should be at the top of your must see list and a nice place to start your visit. Antwerp's is lined with interesting buildings such as the Stadhuis (town hall) and various guildhalls, bustling with residents and visitors walking or sitting at outdoor cafes and it is here you can see the grotesque Brabo statue. The impressive Cathedral of Our Lady (Onze Lieve Vrouwkathedraal) is in a nearby square.
You can visit the Stadhuis (town hall) on a guided tour but we did not. The Stadhuis dates to 1565.
The guildhalls lining the square are not the original ones, a large part of the Grote Markt burned down in 1576 and the guildhalls were rebuilt and then renovated again in the 19th century. The Guild of Archers at number 7, crowned by the statue of St. George slaying the dragon, is shown in the attached pictures.
The 'Grote markt' is still the heart of the old city. It 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 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.
In the middle of the 'Grote Markt' stands the Brabo fountain. The statue was made by sculptor Jef Lambeaux in 1887. According to a legend, a terrible giant, called Druoon Antigoon, lived on the banks of the river Scheldt in ancient times. Whenever sailors on the Scheldt river refused to pay toll to the giant, he punished them by cutting off their hand. A Roman soldier, Silvius Brabo, managed to kill the giant. Brabo cut off the hand of the giant and threw the hand away in the river.
Hence the name of the city : hand ( Engl.: hand) -werpen (Engl.: to throw). A nice legend, but untrue. Nevertheless, the 'hand' is the symbol of Antwerp.There are hands in the town flag. Also there are several sweets in the form of a hand (cookies, chocolates). In any case, without the Brabo fountain, the Grote Markt would not be complete.
Grote Markt, the town square, of Antwerp is not only the heart of the city but also a very nice place to spend lovely moments in one of the many terraces.
The square is surrounded by the Town Hall and the houses of the Guilds or corporations.
In the background can be also admired the tower of Our Lady's Cathedral.
The Grote Markt is probably one of the nicest squares in Antwerp. On one end you can see the Stadhuis or City Hall, another end (see picture) has the guild houses that are each decorated with beautiful guilded statues. In the middle of the square you can find the Brabo fountain.
The Grote Market (Great Marketsquare) is the big square that forms the heart of the city. Here you'll find the city hall and houses from the 16th and 17th century, coming in different styles. The picture illustrates this. From left to right: Renaissance, Gothic, Gothic, Mannerism, Renaissance again. If you like this picture and want to make one yourself you'd better do it in the afternoon if you want the sun to be at the right place.
Like many such squares in the former duchy of Brabant it has a triangular shape, a so-called Frankish triangle. If the whole idea of a triangular square seems odd: it was an Angolsaxon idea to call squares "square"; in Dutch we don't use geometric terms for these places.
Like any other city in Europe, Antwerp also has some beautiful squares full of tourists and locals most of the time specially in a sunny afternoon. Grote Markt is a three sided square, on one side the Town Hall is located. Grote Markt is surrounded by some old style beautiful guild houses by other two sides.
Best place to start your visit, is the Grote Markt (Big Market square).
The locals comes here for several festivities. I found the triangle shape of the Grote Markt most intriguing. This square is surrounded by Guild houses from the 16th and 17th century.