Monday, January 20, 2014

Travel: Grand Place Brussels


Guilds on the Grand Place

It's so easy to forget how beautiful your own city is. To not see things with a tourists eye because you pass them everyday. If there is one place in Brussels that catches my breath no matter how often I cross it, it has to be the Grand Place. Truthfully I don't find myself on the square that often but I definitely wish I would. It's the heart of Brussels and a lot of history has passed here. No wonder it's UNESCO World Heritage and a big tourist hotspot. If you're ever in the capital of Belgium, this is definitely your first go-to point. Be aware though, everyone knows and that's why the delicious waffles and chocolates are INSANELY expensive. I'd never go for a drink on any of the many terraces in summer either. But hey I'm Belgian, I know my way around tourist traps. Go to a local supermarket and take a picnic on the square instead, that's what the locals do. As it's winter now, there is a lot less buzz around. But I quite liked it this way, calmer. Nobody annoying standing in front of your camera haha.

Ever since the 11th century, this has been the centre of the city. It's build upon a dried-up swamp (Brussels used to have it's own river. But that's a completely other story to why urban planners, of the lack of them really, ever thought to cover it up). The square was a market place, an execution area (you know the Middle Ages), in the 14th century wealthy merchants came and build their guilds around the square. They're still here, but sadly almost everything you see today is a replica. As the French destroyed our beautiful Grand Place in 1695 during a siege of Belgium. Funny fact: the Town Hall (the biggest building on the square) survived. Obviously these people didn't know how to aim. The guilds rebuild all the houses but had to have an approval of plans first. That's why they're all so uniform, except for the Gothic Town Hall & the Breadhouse, which now houses a museum about Brussels. Sadly in the 18th century, people lost interest in their history again and everything was deserted and left in poor condition. Luckily Charles Buls, a major in the late 19th century saw the importance and had it restored to its former glory. Since 1998 it's UNESCO World Heritage, so luckily it'll stay in this beautiful state for generations to come. There are many fun facts to the Grand Market. One: it's no longer a market, but the name remained, two: it was once used as a parking space (the lack of respect for buildings and history is so shaming). Well that's all for the history lesson. I took a whole class about Brussels and it's history (mainly architecture) last year so any more questions, just shoot in the comments!
















Photo's by Maya Bogaert

13 comments:

  1. Lijkt me een interessant vak! Dit wist ik helemaal niet, hebben wij niet gezien in de les! (Of ik heb niet goed opgelet... kan ook.) Maar ik kan wel de leuvense architectuurgeschiedenis aanbieden ;)

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  2. I know so true, I am trying to have more photos of NY on my blog, but have to learn how to use my camera! Thanks for sharing.

    Allie of ALLIE NYC
    allienyc.com

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  3. Hahaa, taking a picnic, that's really how the locals do it! Ik hou echt zo veel van mijn home town <3 Prachtige foto's trouwens :)

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  4. Moooooooi! Ik ben dit jaar al meer in Brussel geweest dan in de 20 voorgaande jaren samen, haha. Ik vind het een fijne stad om wat door te kuieren, zo van het VOssenplein, tot aan de grote markt via het paleid enzo ^^ Ik moet er eigenlijk nog eens heen, want het Jo Malone parfum dat ik wenste was op vorige keer :( xo

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  5. wow. i didnt know i can drool over scenic photos :) very nice photos! love it

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  6. The structures look so grand in Brussels. How I wish I took the train before from Paris just to see Belgium.

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  7. Beautiful photos - the buildings are so intricate and detailed! Planning to visit Brussels this year! :)

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  8. Milene - My Cup Of TravelJanuary 26, 2014 at 3:22 PM

    It's not my own city but I absolutely love Brussels, one of my most favourite Belgian cities!! Great photos you got here... Whenever I go to Paris (which I do a lot when living in the Netherlands) I always make sure to have a stop in Brussels so I can drink a beer and day dream in front of beautiful buildings like the Grand Place. I also love it that when the sun is shining people sit on the square in front, having picnics etc. =) Love it! Great post!

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  9. Lovely images! I enjoyed reading this too. I lived in Brussels for many years - I had no idea you were from there! I'm not following your travels on Facebook ;) Indeed, the Grand Place is something superb! To this day the Christmas market in Brussels remains my favorite in all of Europe - I find the light show in Grand Place spectacular! I also love it really really early in the morning, when no one else is there :)

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  10. Oh Brussels, have been so many times and still totally swept away by the glorious architecture! Great pictures!

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