- Brucity Administrative Centre
- Rue des Halles 4 - 1000
- Brussels - Belgium
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The Grand-Place (or Grote Markt in Dutch) is a central square located in the heart of Brussels, Belgium. It is one of the most famous and historically significant landmarks in the city, renowned for its stunning architecture, rich history, and vibrant atmosphere. The Grand-Place has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998.Key features and information about the Grand-Place:
- Architecture: The Grand-Place is surrounded by a collection of beautifully ornate and intricate buildings that showcase various architectural styles, including Gothic, Baroque, and Louis XIV. These buildings were constructed mostly between the 15th and 17th centuries. The Town Hall (Hôtel de Ville) is the most prominent structure on the square and serves as a prime example of Brabantine Gothic architecture.
- Flower Carpet: Every two years in August, the Grand-Place hosts a spectacular event known as the "Flower Carpet" (Tapis de Fleurs in French). During this event, the entire square is adorned with a massive, intricate carpet-like arrangement of colorful flowers, creating a visually stunning display that attracts numerous visitors.
- Market and Festivals: Throughout its history, the Grand-Place has been a hub for markets, fairs, and festivals. The square has witnessed a wide range of events, including medieval tournaments, religious processions, and cultural celebrations. Today, it continues to be a gathering place for various events, concerts, and exhibitions.
- History: The Grand-Place has a rich and sometimes turbulent history. It was originally a simple marketplace in the 11th century, gradually evolving into a vibrant center of commerce and culture. The square has also been the backdrop for important historical events, including public executions, political gatherings, and foreign invasions.
- Statues and Monuments: In addition to the Town Hall, the Grand-Place features several statues and monuments. Notable among these is the statue of Everard t'Serclaes, a 14th-century hero who played a role in the city's defense against an invasion. Touching his statue is believed to bring good luck.
- Christmas Market: The Grand-Place hosts a lively Christmas market during the holiday season. The square is adorned with festive lights and decorations, and numerous stalls offer seasonal treats, gifts, and crafts.
- Tourism: The Grand-Place is a major tourist attraction in Brussels, drawing visitors from all over the world. Its picturesque beauty, historical significance, and vibrant events make it a must-visit destination for those exploring the city.
The Grand-Place in Brussels remains a symbol of the city's rich history and cultural heritage. Its unique blend of architectural styles and its role as a focal point for various events and festivities make it a beloved and iconic landmark in Belgium.
- Origin as a Market: The Grand-Place's history dates back to the 11th century when it was just a simple market square on the outskirts of the city. Over time, it became a central hub for trade and commerce.
- Destruction by Louis XIV: In 1695, during the War of the Spanish Succession, the Grand-Place suffered significant damage when the French army, under the orders of King Louis XIV, bombarded and set fire to the city. Much of the square was destroyed, including many of its buildings.
- Reconstruction: After the destruction, the citizens of Brussels undertook an ambitious effort to rebuild the Grand-Place and its surrounding buildings. The reconstruction was largely completed by the early 18th century, resulting in the stunning architectural ensemble that we see today.
- Town Hall as a Focal Point: The Town Hall (Hôtel de Ville) is perhaps the most iconic building on the Grand-Place. Its construction began in the early 15th century and was completed in the mid-15th century. The tower stands at around 96 meters (315 feet) tall and is adorned with sculptures and intricate detailing.
- Statue of Everard t'Serclaes: The statue of Everard t'Serclaes, a hero of the city, is located near the Town Hall. It depicts him lying on a bed of spears and cannonballs, representing his role in defending the city against an invasion in the 14th century. It is believed that touching the statue brings good luck.
- Flower Carpet Tradition: The tradition of creating elaborate flower carpets on the Grand-Place began in 1971. Every two years, in August, a massive carpet made of begonias is meticulously arranged on the square. This temporary artwork attracts visitors from around the world.
- UNESCO World Heritage Site: In 1998, the Grand-Place was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its exceptional architectural and artistic value. It is recognized as an outstanding example of a medieval European square.
- Political and Social Gatherings: Throughout its history, the Grand-Place has been a venue for various political and social gatherings. Public ceremonies, celebrations, and even public executions were held on the square.
- Christmas Market: The Grand-Place hosts a popular Christmas market during the holiday season, adding to its charm with festive lights, decorations, and a range of stalls offering seasonal goods.
- Symbol of Belgian Identity: The Grand-Place is often considered a symbol of Belgian identity, showcasing the country's cultural and historical heritage.
These historical facts provide insight into the Grand-Place's evolution from a medieval market square to a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a beloved cultural landmark in Brussels.
Top Tourist Attractions
La Grand-Place is home to various top tourist attractions that draw visitors from all over the world. Here are some of the must-see attractions within and around the Grand-Place:
- Town Hall (Hôtel de Ville): The Town Hall is the centerpiece of the Grand-Place. Its stunning Gothic architecture, intricate facades, and soaring tower make it a must-see attraction. Guided tours are often available for visitors to explore its historical chambers and learn about its rich history.
- Maison du Roi (King's House): Also known as the Breadhouse, this building is located on the Grand-Place's western side. It houses the Brussels City Museum, which showcases the history and culture of the city. The museum features a collection of artifacts, paintings, and sculptures that tell the story of Brussels.
- Flower Carpet: If you're visiting during the Flower Carpet event, witnessing the massive floral masterpiece covering the Grand-Place is a remarkable experience. The intricate designs made from colorful begonias create a breathtaking sight.
- Guild Houses: The buildings surrounding the Grand-Place are adorned with ornate facades and gables. Many of these buildings were once guild houses representing various trades and professions. Each house has its own unique character and history.
- Statue of Everard t'Serclaes: The statue of Everard t'Serclaes lies near the Town Hall. Touching the statue is believed to bring good luck, and it has become a tradition for visitors to do so.
- The King's Balcony: Located on the front facade of the Town Hall, the King's Balcony is where notable dignitaries and royals often stand during public events and celebrations. The balcony offers a commanding view of the Grand-Place and its surroundings.
- Guided Tours: Various guided tours are available for visitors who want to learn more about the history, architecture, and stories behind the Grand-Place and its buildings. Knowledgeable guides provide insights that enhance the experience.
- Belgian Chocolate Shops: The Grand-Place is surrounded by numerous shops where you can indulge in some of Belgium's finest chocolates. These shops offer a variety of delicious treats and make for excellent souvenir options.
- Christmas Market: If you're visiting during the holiday season, the Grand-Place's Christmas market is a delightful attraction. The square is transformed with festive decorations, stalls selling crafts, gifts, and seasonal treats, and an enchanting atmosphere.
- St. Nicholas Church: Just a short walk from the Grand-Place, you'll find the St. Nicholas Church. This centuries-old church is another architectural gem worth exploring.
Exploring these attractions within and around the Grand-Place will give you a comprehensive experience of its historical, cultural, and architectural significance.
The Grand-Place is centrally located within the city and is surrounded by a network of streets, buildings, and landmarks. It is not far from other significant sites, such as the Manneken Pis statue, the Brussels City Museum, and St. Nicholas Church.
The square itself is a cobblestone area surrounded by ornate historic buildings, each with its own unique architecture and character. The Town Hall (Hôtel de Ville) is a central focal point of the Grand-Place, and its towering spire is easily recognizable.
The Grand-Place's central location within Brussels makes it easily accessible to both residents and tourists. The square is a hub for cultural events, festivals, and gatherings, and it's often bustling with activity. Its central location also means that it's surrounded by shops, restaurants, and other amenities, making it a vibrant and dynamic part of the city.
Brussels City Guide
Brussels is not only the capital of Belgium, it is also unofficially known as the capital city of Europe. A bilingual city it inhabits people who speak both French and Dutch. This is a flourishing, cosmopolitan city, with one of the best museums, art and architecture, a sublime eatery scene and a sprightly nightlife. Brussels offers a plethora of things for its tourists. It is full of merriments and amusements for the entertainment of its guests. Here is a concise area guide for the people who wish to visit Brussels.
Brussels has a slew of landmarks, the most important amongst them being the Grand Palace or the Grote Mart. An architectural marvel the palace is famous for its luxuriant guildhalls. It also houses the Museum of the City of Brussels. A few meters from the Grand Palace one can find the iconic bronze statue the Manneken Pis. The city also has a beautiful garden called the Jubelpark which houses the Cinquatenaire museum and the Royal Military museum. Brussels is home to numerous landmarks such as the Atomium, the Palais de Justice, the Statue of Europe and the Palais Royale de Bruxelles.
Museums and Galleries
Museums and Galleries give you an insight into the culture and history of a place. It just so happens that Brussels has fourteen museums to offer. The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium consists of paintings from the 14th to 20th century and displays paintings by artists such as Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Rubens, etc. The Natural Sciences Museums of Belgium has some remarkable collections including its famous collection of iguanodons (remains of dinosaurs). The Belgian comic strip centre is also one of the most visited destinations of Brussels which beautifully elucidates the evolution of comics. You can also visit the Royal Museum for Central Africa, Musée du Cinéma-Filmmuseum (Museum of Filmmaking) and the Museum of Instruments.
As the Second World War came to an end Brussels became the heart of many International Institutions. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the World Customs Organization and the EUROCONTROL, all have their headquarters in Brussels. Apart from these international Institutions, it currently hosts the seat of the European Commission, the council of European Union and the European Parliament. It is also known as the de-facto capital of the European Union.
Eateries, Breweries, and Nightlife
Brussels has a rich food culture, specially the famous Belgian Cafe culture, to get a first-hand feel of it head over to Fin de Siècle to taste the hearty flavors of Belgium cuisine. To get the feel of an authentic Flemish café-bar, try Café Merlo. Another hotspot of Brussels is Madame Moustache. This place is famous for its lively music and themed evenings. Breweries and Brussels are practically synonymous. The city has a range of excellent breweries, not only do they serve beautifully brewed ales but also teach you how to brew your own. The Cantillon and Brewspot are a must visit. Also do not forget to try the famous Belgian waffles, chocolates and the beer.
Despite the city being friendly towards the tourists, there are a couple of things to keep in mind though for a safe and pleasurable trip. It’s always better to be safe as petty crimes are common in Brussels. Plan your stay efficiently and make sure you carry all your travel documents. Every corner of Brussels has a lot to offer and has an amazing story to tell.