Grand' Place & guild houses, Brussels
I use to say that this square is the most beautiful that I know. Great proportions well balanced and harmonized buildings, precious details. The only sad thing was its dark look.
You may imagine my pleasure when I saw that the buildings are being cleaned, and the white stone is now shining almost as much as the shining gold in some facades.
As we came out of a side street, we came upon a beautiful sight - the GRAND PLACE 0r De Grote Markt, the central square of Brussels. As it was evening, all the buildings were lit up in all its glory. There was the Gothic Town Hall, the St. Michael and Gudula Cathedral, the The King's House or Broodhuis and the wonderful Guildhalls. And of course, the famous chocolatier - GODIVA.
Grand Place is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Picture #4 was taken by IanGrace. I have her permission to put it here on VT. Thank you so much - it is an awesome picture.
The Brabantine Gothic style BRUSSELS TOWN HALL is located in the famous square - Grand Place. Its tower which rises to 96 meters or 310 feet, is absolutely beautiful, especially in the evening when the whole building is lit up. The spire is topped by the archangel Saint Michael, the patron saint of Brussels. He is seen slaying a dragon.
The facade is decorated with numerous statues depicting nobles and saints.
Grand Place, or Grote Markt (in Flemish) is the main square in Brussels.
This beautiful square was first laid out after the construction of the town hall (1402-1455). On august 13th 1695 it was bombed to ruins by the French. In the following four years the city guilds rebuilt it.
Today it is surrounded by several guild houses from the late 17th century, by the town hall and the Broodhuis (or Maison du Roy). Some guild houses house restaurants or cafes.
The Maison du Roy houses the City Museum. There you can see the collection of costumes of the Manneken Pis.
When you reach the Grand Place central market square, it would be nice to know how this place came about and retained such a wonderful collection of architecture.
The Grand Place was first laid out after the construction of the town hall, at the centre of the city's commercial district. Neighboring streets still reflect the area's origins, named after the sellers of butter, cheese, herring, coal and so on. The original Grand Place was a medley of buildings constructed between the 15th and 17th centuries in a variety of styles.
The French (in an effort to draw the League of Augsburg's forces away from their siege on French-held Namur in what is now southern Belgium) launched on August 13, 1695 a massive bombardment of the mostly defenseless city centre with cannons and mortars, setting it on fire and flattening the majority of the Grand Place and the surrounding city. Only the stone shell of the town hall and a few fragments of other buildings remained standing. That the town hall survived at all is ironic, as it was the principal target of the artillery fire.
The square was rebuilt in the following four years by the city's guilds. Their efforts were regulated by the city councilors and the Governor of Brussels, who required that their plans be submitted to the authorities for their approval. The result was a remarkably harmonious layout for the rebuilt Grand Place, despite the ostensibly clashing combination of Gothic, Baroque and Louis XIV styles.
All the buildings in Grand Place are beautifully decorated, however we particularly admired the Le Roi d'Espagne showpiece built in 1676 by the wealthy Guild Of Bakers. The octagonal copper dome is topped by a dancing golden figure.
The golden horse with rider stands out against the sky and looks very spectacular.
The outstanding memory of our 5 day visit to Brussels was the magnificent historic buildings of the Grand Place. Many of the Guild Houses were built during the 11th century, however in 1695 all but the Town Hall were destroyed by cannon fire and subsequently rebuilt.
As our hotel was close by we visited the Grand Place daily. It is good to see that the buildings are available to the public, the Hotel De Ville (Town Hall) is used as the Toursist Information centre and musuem with daily tours.
For more detail visit: http://www.ilotsacre.be/site/en/default_en.htm
The food and night life has left a positive and lasting effect on me. There is nothing like relaxing in a restaurant before hitting the town for the night in a club (open til 6/7am). I would warn women that high heals are just too difficult to wear on the cobbeled streets. I insisted on wearing heals all the time but nearly broke them each time I left the hotel.
Fondest memory: The care-free, safe enviroment of people having a good time.
This is 1 of Belgian best-known landmarks, with the Town Hall and the King's House, which houses a museum, as its most famous buildings.
It's always crowded with people strolling and taking pictures or just sitting at its outdoor cafés.
At night, the buildings are illuminated by floodlights which makes an impressive spectacle.
Maybe one of the nice moments to visit Brussels during Winter time is the period starting from a couple of days before Christmass till New Year's end.
The city hall is beautiful enlighted (as ever) and the surrounding decoration and lights will add to the nice scenery.
This is a close-up of an important part of the City Hall :). Have a look!
Most of time, in Belgium, city halls are located on the very Grote markt or Grand-Place according to the language of the area you are visiting, so is Brussels' Hôtel de ville - Stadhuis.
Construction is reported to begin on this gothic styled building in 1402. Also, it seems that it was the only building to survive the 1695 bombing during the French occupation of Brussels.
Click here to see the whole building in case you haven't seen it yet :)
Fondest memory: It's in this building that you will find the Tourism Information center. Not to mix up with another info bureau in neighbouring area.
For the cowspotting in July 2003, I agreed with Dannie (irisbe) to meet at Tourism Information center. Seems I didn't understand her explanation, I was waiting for her in front of a building housing "Office de promotion du tourisme Wallonie- Bruxelles" and "Toerisme Vlandeeren" Infopunt on Rue march? aux herbes.
I was waiting for a long time there. Finally, I went on Grand-Place to ask to some tourists with a guidebook where stands the Information center. Then, they saw in their book that there were two information bureau regarding tourism: one on Grand-Place and another one on Rue March? aux herbes.
It was time to spot a red-haired woman across the King's house... and we finally met, after some long wait, within just 50 meters distance one to each other. Silly! Of the two, it was the local who mixed up things.. :)
If you are a tourist in Brussels, looking at some information on events in Brussels, go to the city hall building. At the basement level, spot this part, right side to the main entry, where you would find guides, leaflets... We picked there the leaflets we used for the Artoncows exhibition... Of course, you'll have to enter the building :)))
Town Hall - Grand'Place / Grote Markt
Daily, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, summer 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.,winter from 10. a.m. to 2 p.m;1/1 to 28/2closed on Sunday.
Closed: 25/12 and 1/1
This is a masterpiece of Gothic civil architecture from the 15th Century.
It is also famous for the richness of its interior.
Painting, sculptures and tapestries evoke local and national history in one of the most sumptuous environments in the country!
INFORMATION AND GUIDED TOURS ON RESERVATION tel.: +32 2 279 43 50
fax: +32 2 279 43 62
Fondest memory: JUST BEING THERE and....let me tell you that I am often there because it is only 1 1/2 hrs. drive from my house in the deep SW of The Netherlands, near the Belgian Border......
PLEASE, ENJOY MY TRAVELOGUES!!
The main tourist attraction of the city of Brussels and its central tourist poist is a square called Grand Place (Big Square). It's not so big at least in comparison to say St. Mark Square in Venice or Market Square in Krakow, Poland - the biggest mediaeval square in Europe.
But the old, renovated houses around Grand Place looked really amazing either at daytime and at night when the square was heavy lighted. It was a paradise for old architecture lovers! And for those who like watching people :-)
Fondest memory: Grand Place :-)
The beautiful La Grande Place (Grant Place)...
It is lined with cafes and restaurants so if you can afford it grab something to eat here and do some people watching. :) It's a nice place to spend a bit of time...
Favorite thing: The guild houses were rebuilt between 1695 and 1700 after destruction by a bombardment by the french army in 1695 during the reign of Louis XIV . Their architectural style is a local interpretation of Italian Baroque. On the guild houses you can see little statues that are patrons of the different guilds.