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