Few kilometers just after we crossed the border from Netherlands to Belgium, it started to pour. It pours and pours for hours that I´ve just got lost track of it. It was insane and the traffic got worse the moment we entered the Ring of Brussels. Then I thought, what a day to start our Belgium getaway!? We were hoping for a day full of sunshine to treat ourselves with lots of Belgian waffles but the rain really dampen our mood….for a moment!
But then, we are in Brussels ! so after we checked-in, freshen up, we got some umbrellas , went outside and began exploring!In Brussels , we decided to explore the city like a local. Our hotel is located very near to the Tram stations and by the way, Brussels is very easy to navigate with it´s comprehensive U-Bahn.
Grand Place is beautiful.Really it is.
I don´t need to use superlatives here but I have seen it in a drenching weather but still, I have appreciated it´s whole beauty.It´s not everyday that we see something like this so I find it really special.We actually don´t know exactly where we are going , rummaging through the little alleys, first making a stop in St. Michael & Gudula Cathedral which is also worth of mention since it is impressive! Also, I am travelling with a little mouse which only wants to chase Pokemon! My daughter did an epic photo jump in this square and immediately wants to see the Manneken Pis! We´ve made a sort of Scavenger Hunt for the first one to see the Manneken Pis , Het Zinneke Pis (Urinating Dog) and Janneke Pis (Urinating Girl).
Anyway, this lovely square is the heart of Brussels. It is actually one of the most beautiful square I have ever seen. If you are a lover of Architecture like me, I am sure you know what I mean. My eyes are directly and immediately fixated on the details of Baroque, Neo Gothic, and the massive Deco art it has.
All over the world it is known for its decorative and aesthetic wealth. The Grand-Place is surrounded by the guild houses, the City Hall and the Maison du Roi. The Grand-Place is considered as one of the most beautiful places of the world and I totally agree!
In this square I have seen the Starbucks Cafe where it looks more like a palace than a normal coffee shop!The Grand Place is a declared UNESCO World Heritage site. It is objectively one of the most architecturally beautiful squares in Europe. I mean you can roam around in this square for hours for free until your neck hurts from looking above. If you have the energy, you can even count how many statues are there surrounding the square. There are just too many !
The Grand Place has witnessed many pages of history from the medieval protests and wars to the bombing and destruction during the first and second world war, making it truly a piece of living history to read and explore.Check the dates of the structure in this photo—it´s ANNO 1698!! and to think that in the early golden days, this square used to be the main market square to sell and trade goods.
By the 17th century, the Grand Place was bustling with market activities, especially with the trading of food items. Therefore, you will notice there the street in and around the market square are named after food, like Herb Market Street, Herring Street, and Butter Street and so on!My daughter was laughing just in case we stumbled into Potato street or Pumpkin street!
If you´re in the middle of the square, you should look for the three main buildings in this Square. The Town Hall, The King´s House,and the House of the Grand Place.
The town hall is the only medieval building that is existing in its old form at Grand Place. The Town hall is also located at the central point of the square. The Hall still houses a significant portion of municipal offices. It is embellished by a bell tower which is the most iconic structure of the square.
Asymmetry is evident with the tower not built exactly in the middle of the building and neither sides of the tower are symmetrical. When you take a look at the town hall from a distance, you will also find that it resembles the new city hall in Marienplatz in Munich (minus the singing clock).
The stunning Italian baroque designs with gold finished buildings is what will catch your attention. The Grand Place houses are located on each side of the square and are lined with a number of guild houses.
The grandeur and luxurious feel of this place are heightened with gold embellishments and designs, which speaks volume of the status of its occupants.Here I almost felt that in the golden days, this square has the statement of success, economic progress and nobility. In the entire square, there is no church or any other place of worship. The Grand Place was purely a commercial and a mercantile entity.
Brussels maybe known because it´s where the headquarters of the European Union, but then for me, I would personally rank this place as a koleidoscope of beauty, architecture, rich history and the undeniably “Belgitude”.
This post was inspired by Len of Lens Journey.If not because of his post about Brussels, I won´t be more inspired to see this place. Thank´s Len.
Until then, for now I´ll say Tschüss!