Grand Place - Grote Markt, Brussels
I would like to talk to you about Brussels city. You have to go there at least once in your life. I will explain to you why.
Firstly, it's the capital of Belgium. And you should see the reason why Walloons and Flemish fight.
Secondly, it's the capital of Europe. You should see the heart of Europe.
Thirdly, we have such beautiful songs about our city. Here are some of them :
Jacques Brel : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SX-8jLFvHCI
Dick Annegarn : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaC7ADXMaB0
Moreover, we are the best in many sectors. We have the world record of time past without a government. Many people agree that we have the most beautiful "Grand Place" (Big square) of the world.
Finally, you can find everything and everyone in Brussels : Japanese, Chinese, French people, Englishmen, Dutchmen,...
I could continue on and on but you just know that you have to go.
Close to Grand Place there's a statue of Everhard't Serclaes, a local hero from the 14th century. Tradition says that rubbing his elbow brings good fortune, and everybody does it. Why not us, of course?
In my recent visit the statue was removed to maintenance, I don't know until when, but it seems that a copy was placed in location.
Memories are good - that small kid in the picture, took in 1989, in his first visit of Brussels (my second), is now almost 2 meters high, working in... Brussels!
Reason to be already planning my fourth visit.
Even though it was winter and there wasn't any market the area had a lovely atmosphere. The architecture is simply wonderful and a few good restaurants make it ideal for breakfast right there in the hustle and bustle of the city.
The central market is where Brussels shows off its historic wealth. Surrounded by buildings of the guilds that made the city rich, the square is a glorious mishmash of extravagant architectural styles that somehow work together, when probably they should not. It's all stucco walls and gold leaf facades. It is a protected UNESCO treasure and the highlight of any trip to Brussels.
I spent a week close to Grand Place, and that made me identify Brussels with this beautiful square, with the other images vanishing in my mind. When many years later I took my sons to Brussels, Grand Place and Atomium were, again, almost the exclusive attractions that we saw. But I like this square, and dislike the general city.
In August there's a festivity where the square is covered with flowers. Terrific job, but its beauty reaches the top then.
Unexpected visit to Brussels allowed me to verify that the square buildings were being cleaned, and the beauty of the square is now shining. Excellent!
... and I had the opportunity to make some more decent pictures and to change my general impression about the city...
Our tradition is restored with a real Christmas tree on the Grand Place.
Last year the traditional Christmas tree had been replaced by a metallic structure with lights.
This launched a strong protest against what was considered by a majority as an esthetic horror but also an aggression towards our Christmas traditions. See my No Christmas tree on the Grand Place this year .
This December the tradition is restored with an "Epicea" spruce of 17 m high coming from the "Hautes-Fagnes" a part of the Belgian Ardennes in the north-east of the country.
Bystanders and shopkeepers are relieved to see again a 100% natural tree planted on one of the most beautiful places in the world.
To explain the uproar of last year I have to say that we undergo in Belgium and in many countries of the EU actions by some ideologues to destroy our ancestral traditions based on our Christian historical culture. Strong reactions of the autochthones to preserve their cultural identity are now more and more observed.
Recently a campaign originated in the Netherlands by some of these anti-tradition ideologues to prohibit "Zwarte Piet" the black helper of "SinterKlaas" (Santa Klaus) because he is supposed to be a symbol of colonialism according to some members of the UN!
As a child I thought Zwarte Piet was black because he went through the chimney to bring me toys on December 6th. I was wrong!
Work in Progress 9/02/13- Walking into the Grand Place or La Grand Palace my first reaction was the size. The second was the extraordinary architectural detail on so many of the buildings. I also noted that there are a total of seven streets that all meet in the Grand Palace. So standing to observe for a few moments I finally proceeded in a clock wise movement around each of the buildings in the square. Amazing to think that there has been a market, formerly known as the Nedermarckt (Lower Market) since the late 12th century. Although apparently the current form of the square didn't really unfold like it can be seen today until the late 17th century.
The Grand Place was the city's market place back in the 13th century, and is today a very beautiful square in the centre of Brussels. A gathering place for concerts, the carpet of flowers in August (in even years), and many other events... Or packed with tourists looking at the impressive buildings that surrounds the cobbled square...
Most of the buildings are from the early 18th century, built after the French bombardment of Brussels in 1695... The Maison du Roi (the King's House, also known as the Broodhuis (the Bread House)), the Hotel de Ville (the Town Hall) with its 96 meter high tower, La Maison des Ducs de Brabant, Le Roi de l'Espagne, and many more... Some of the buildings are now museums, shops, or restaurants - but I didn't visit any of them... Just stood in the middle of the square for a while and admired the Grand Place; amazing architecture, and facades with numerous statues and decorations...
I'll give you the not so usual ..
What I love about Brussels is off the tourist trail ...
Tell me what you're into ....
And if you're witihin my range of wackiness ...
I'll tell you where to go .. literally :-)
Actually on my travels to Brussels, each time more charming for me is not the Grand Place itself, but all the norrow streets leading to all directions around the Place ...
So many hidden gems on those streets, little cafes, handcraft shops, special beer houses and so on ... What I suggest to u is not to stuck on that classic souvenir shops and 24/7 crowded cafes at the Place Square, but make some walks to those narrow streets to explore .... I assure u that u wont regret ... :)
So, concerning the Place itself, The Grand Place continued to serve as a market until November 19, 1959, and it is still called the Grote Markt or Great Market in Dutch. Neighbouring streets still reflect the area's origins, named after the sellers of butter, cheese, herring, coal and so on.
The Grand Place was named by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1998. One of the houses was owned by the brewers' guild, and is now the home of a brewers' museum.
Every two years in August, an enormous "flower carpet" is set up in the Grand Place for a few days. A million colourful begonias are set up in patterns and the display covers a full 24 by 77 metres for area total of 1,800 square metres The first flower carpet was made in 1971 and due to its popularity, the tradition continued w the flower carpet attracting a large number of tourists.
Brussels' Market Square is one of the most impressive in Europe. As gaudy as it can get, it belongs rather in a fabled city than in the quite dull (in comparison) surroundings for which Brussels in known. No wonder this is the liveliest spot in Brussels and has a unique atmosphere.
Any moment of the day or night is good for a visit to the square, since this is the main stage in the city and it is likely that something of interest for the tourist will be happening. Be it a rock concert, a modern art performance, a music and light show, the famous flower carpets or a small artists market, it is never boring on the Grand Place. Even just before dawn, when hardly a soul will be on sight can be a perfect moment to investigate in solitude the many magical references that the constructors of the square left in their buildings. This is indeed one of these extraordinary places where the Earth's inner energy and magnetism can be experienced at its best.
The entire Grand-Place has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, understanding that it provides a vivid illustration of the eclectic and highly successful blending of architectural and artistic styles that characterizes the culture and society of this region. Additionally, through the quality of its architecture, the Grand-Place epitomizes the achievements of a highly successful mercantile city of northern Europe at the height of its prosperity.
The archeries of the Star House - smallest house on the Market Square - guard two artistic bas-reliefs in memory of two of the city's mayors (or bourgmestres, as mayors are called in Brussels).
The most famous of these bas-reliefs depicts a moribund Everard T'Serclaes, who defended the city's liberties from the attacks of the Medieval aristocracy. While repelling the attack or the Lord of Gaasbeek, he was made prisoner and tortured to the agony. He was then brought back to the Star House, where he died. According to a popular superstition, touching the arm of T'Serclaes will bring you luck, and this has become one of the favourite rituals for tourists visiting the Grand Place .
Next to it, the other memorial honours Charles Buls, a Bourgmestres of Brussels in the late 19th century, to whom we owe the present look of the Grand Place, for he commissioned the renovation works of the Market Square that took place at the time, including the reconstruction of the King's House.
The Grand Place, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998, is probably the best starting point for any itinerary across the historic heart of Brussels, where some of its most famous landmarks are located, including the Manneken Pis and the Cathedral. There is not much left from Medieval times in Brussels, as the city was severely bombed in 1695. The reconstruction carried out afterwards, however, left an important print in this part of the city, which is still full of Flemish Baroque constructions. The Grand Place is surrounded by a little maze of narrow and dark lanes where souvenir shops, snack bars and restaurants galore. The area is too small to get lost in, but with so much tackiness, it is impossible not to fall in love with.
this is it, the point to come first when in Brussels, at night is even better. I have another entry so just want to show you more photos of this beautiful place. I come on business or alone or with family and it is our focal point always. It is Bruxelles or Brussels
So much written on it, and better than I can, I give you the link to the city of Brussels
a must to see when in Brussels is the Grand Place and its wonderful architecture all around it. There are activities throughtout the year as in the photo.
I come here often often on business, and pleasure, and so much written on it here, that will just tell you it is a must to see while in Brussels.
The Grand Place at Christmas to New Years time is wonderful and something not to missed.