Landmarks & Architecture in Belgium
For such a small country Belgium is endowed with numerous architecture delights. Many of Belgium's gems are on Unesco's World Heritage List. All belfries and Flemish Begijnhoven are by definition on the list.
Belgium: Unesco's World Heritage List
Antwerp Unesco's World Heritage List
▪ Belfrie tower of Our Lady Cathedral(1999)
▪ Flemish Beguinage (1998)
▪ Plantin-Moretus House-Workshops-Museum Complex (2005)
Brussels Unesco's World Heritage List
▪ La Grand-Place, Brussels (1998)
▪ Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta (Brussels) (2000)
Brugge, Hainault, Mons and Tournai Landmarks on Unesco's World Heritage List
▪ The Four Lifts on the Canal du Centre and their Environs, La Louvière and Le Roeulx (Hainault) (1998)
▪ Historic Centre of Brugge (2000)
▪ Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes (Mons) (2000)
▪ Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai (2000)
Around the old Antwerp's Old Town you can discover many other architecture gems The Steen Castle was an important military asset. It was Build between 1200 - 1225 and restored from 1953 to 1958
The 16th century Beguinage or Begijnhof was a medieval housing complex for women who devoted themselves to prayer and charitable works, but did not care for the constrains of a convent.
Churches are prime example of the building style in the Middle Ages - and many towers still dominate the skylines of Belgian cities. The most impressive example of the Gothic style is Antwerp's monumental Cathedral of our Lady.
One of the most known of Antwerp buildings and the biggest Gothic church of the Low Lands. It was finished in 1521 after about 170 years of construction.
Inside few of Rubens most known paintings are waiting for your complete attention… Among them are the Raising of the Cross and the Descent of the Cross - cultural heritage on a worldwide scale. There are a also lot of other works of art, the contents, the stained-glass windows,...
You can find interesting Antwerp styles going back a hundreds years. In the middle of the Old Town with its Medieval streets (Vlaeykensgang) is the Market square of Antwerp and the Antwerp City Hall.
Antwerp City Hall is not a replica, as many houses on the Grote Markt - it's the original renaissance building. Only 10 years after completion it was burned to the ground in 1576 during the Spanish Fury. It was rebuilt three years later.
The Baroque period of the 16th and 17th century has also left behind some stunning examples in Flanders. Flemish architects came up with a local version - Flemish Renaissance / Flemish Baroque which is best observed in antwerp.
Prime examples are the Ruben's House and St. Carolus Borromeus Church - Ruben's Church. Rubens not only masterfully painted for it, but he was also designer of its sculptural decoration. A fire has destroyed its 39 ceiling paintings. One painting still hangs above the altar - but it is not always the same one. An original mechanism makes it still possible to change the paintings.
Around the same time the Antwerp Synagogue, influenced by moorish buildings, has been build by the Jewish congregation. After a few steps along Bouwmeestersstraat on your left you’ll see an old Synagogue of mid 19th century in Ottoman Style.
The synagogue is only used for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kipour. Guided tours are possible by appointment.
In the early 1890's Belgium was at the forefront of a European: Art Nouveau / Jugendstill in Germany. Art Nouveau is characterized by it's use of sinuous lines - organic tendrils, feminine curves and floral motifs. The materials most often incorporated into the architecture were wrought iron, glass, exotic timbers and marble.
In t' Zuid you will find many fabulous buildings like the Bootje, also known as The Five Continents and the de 5 werelddelen were a group of four Art Nouveau buildings located near the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten (Royal Museum of Fine Arts).
In the Golden Triangle of Art Nouveau you can discover the most creative and stunning examples of this fantastic architecture. The Quinten-Matsijs and The Scaldis , The Sunflower, The Four Seasons & Battle of Waterloo , The three houses on Transvaalstraat: The 12 Apostles, The Devils and The Greek temple, The Carolus Magnus and The Sun, The Stars and The Moon are all located here.
The Art Nouveau concluded with Art Deco - Some prime examples are the St. Anna's pedestrian tunnel This 572 meter unique pedestrian passageway was built underneath the Scheldt in 1931-1933 to link the old centre with the left bank (Linkeroever). The entrance is a yellow brick building that looks like an Art-Deco power station.
The KBC Tower - is the the oldest sky scraper in Europe. Build in the early thirties, the building is older then the Empire State Building. This Antwerp building was constructed in the same Art Deco style (except it's 200 meters shorter).
Antwerp Central Station is the most famous Antwerp building and is often referred to as the Rail Road Cathedral of Antwerp. When you arrive in Antwerp with the train, you’ve already done one of the main top 10 attractions in the city.
Modern architecture has also been getting a lot of attention in Belgium. In Antwerp there is Van Reeth's Zuiderterras and the new
The Justitiepalais - The Anglo-Italian architect who designed it is Richard Rogers, the same one that developed the Centre Pompidou in Paris. The roof is the architectural idea of waves (or a series of sails). The complex has 5 floors and 36 hearing rooms.
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