As I mentioned earlier in a previous post, I went to Belgium in summer 2018 and managed to visit four cities: Brussels, Ghent, Bruges and Antwerp. Certainly, I stayed in Brussels and did some day trips to the other three cities. It was really a wonderful week for me as Brussels took a piece of my heart.
First of all, it is one of big cities that will amaze you if you are a fan of urban life. It is always crowded, full of life but still, filled with a lot of stories and places that capture your full attention while you are there. Why is it so special in its own way?
It is a very special monument to visit, a 102-meter steel construction with diameter of 18 meters, representing an enlarged iron crystal. The building’s construction dates back to 1958, in the year of the Expo, the Universal Exhibition that was held in Brussels.
It symbolises the attraction of the intertwining cultures that resides in Brussels. It is an amusement park that contains the remakes of Europe’s most beautiful icons: 80 cities and 350 buildings in mini 1:25 scale. Not only the miniatures, you can also admire animated attractions such as the eruption of Vesuvius. Completing the tour, you can see an interactive exhibition explaining the mechanisms of European Union in a game.
Grand Palace Square
This square is the centre of all the activities that take place in Brussels as it is surrounded by several palaces: the Town Hall, a palace in Gothic style, which has a high tower on the summit of which is a statue of St. Michael the Archangel, Patron of the city, and the Maison du Roi, originally built in wood, which was then restored in stone in the late Gothic style. This wonderful square is deeply rich in history.
The Guild Houses
Around the Grand Palace Square, there are the numerous Guild Houses that recall each masterpiece by different artisans who were part of the area, including bakers, brewers, painters, cabinet makers, archers, tailors and all the craftsmen in this large commercial square. Today, a part of these buildings is home to museums, such as the Beer Museum (no surprise as Belgium has some of the best beers worldwide). In the area, there is also the “Maison des Maitres Chocolatiers Belges”, where you can get mouth-watering Belgian chocolates. Never return back from Belgium without its chocolates!
This is certainly among the most important buildings to visit. It is the official residence of the royal family despite being used only in special events. On such occasions, the Belgian flag on the roof signals the presence of the sovereign. It is possible to attend the ceremonial changing of the guard every day at about 2.30 am. Around the palace there are some important cultural buildings. It is opened in summer for public for free!
This statue looks like chubby boy or maybe little man in the city, one of the symbols of Brussels folklores, as well as one of the strangest monuments in the world. Certainly, it is also the most photographed statue of the city no matter it is quite small in size which doesn’t even reach a meter high.
Mont des Arts
Mont des Arts was created between 1956 and 1958, located on Place Royale and Place de l’Albertine. It is an urban complex that includes some of the most beautiful buildings in the city including the Palazzo dei Congressi and the National Library, where you can find more than three million volumes and ancient manuscripts.
It was established in the 19th century, exactly in 1880 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the country’s independence. This park belongs to the monumental Palais du Cinquantenaire and they are linked by a massive triumphal arch. In addition, it is home to two interesting museums Brussels: The Royal Museum of Art and History and The Museum of Weapons.
Various Churches in the City
Churches architecture in Europe is always amazing and unforgettable. It is like that too in Brussels. Try to visit Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Or, maybe go to the main churches, which are the Cathedral of San Michele and Santa Gudula. However, not only these three, you can also go to see many other wonderful churches, basilicas, cathedrals and abbeys.
Nevertheless, other than these marvellous places, remember also to taste Belgian beers, chocolates and waffles! Obbligatory! Don’t skip as you’ll regret 😊