Monday, November 3, 2008

Travel Notes: City Sights of Brussels, Belgium

. Figure caption: A portion of Brussels' historic old city center. Source:

City Sights of Brussels, Belgium

Note: I visited Brussels, Belgium on October 4 – 7, 2008.

Below are some interesting sights found in Brussels that I have visited or seen:

1. The Grand Place

The Grand Place is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Situated on former marshland, the Grand Place was a center of social, economics, and politics of Brussels from the 12th century A.D.

2. The Royal Palace

This palace is in the style of Louis XVI. Napolean Bonaparte resided in this palace and signed the Peace treaty with Russia.

3. The “Parc de Bruxelles”

This park was formerly the hunting ground of the Dukes of Brabant and was later converted into a well laid-out French garden in the 18th century. In 1830 the park was the principal battlefield where the fight between the Dutch troops and the Belgian insurgents took place.

4. The “Palais de la Nation” (Senate and House of Representatives) can be found at the northern part of the park. It was built in 1783. Originally called the Palace of the States-General in 1817 it became the Palace of the Nation after 1830.

5. The “Palais de Justice” (Law of Courts) was built from 1866 to 1883 in a mixture of Greek, Roman, and Babylonian styles. It is considered to be the biggest European building of the 19th century.

6. The “Petit Sablon” Square

This little garden situated in front of the Notre Dame des Victoires church is surrounded by wrought-iron railings. In the middle of the square stands the Egmond and Hornes’ monument – two noblemen executed by the Spaniards in 1568.

7. The Bourse (Stock Exchange)

This building was built in 1871 in a composite neoclassic and Italian Renaissance style. The French sculptor Rodin participated in the facade’s decoration.

8. Le place Royale (Royale Square)
Erected in the 18th century under the reign of Charles of Lorraine, this square is an example of “classical and proportioned urbanism.” In the middle stands the equestrian monument of Godefroid de Bouillon, first Christian King of Jerusalem. Behind the statue stands the Saint Jacques-sur-Coudenberg Church which was used as a “Temple of the Reason” during the French Revolution.

9. Manneken-Pis Fountain

This small bronze statuette called “the oldest citizen of the city” represents a young hero from the Brussels’ folklore. The Manneken-Pis owns a varied and abundant wardrobe which is kept at the Communal museum.

10. The Anneessens Tower
This remaining section of the 12th century ramparts stands next to the gate where the guild leader Francois Anneessens was imprisoned before his execution in 1719.

11. The “Mont des Artes”

12. The Church of Notre Dame du Sablon

13. St. Michael’s Cathedral
The cathedral features a beautiful gothic edifice which is a synthesis of the all ogival art’s periods from the 13th to the 16th century. Since the Middle Ages, the cathedral has witnessed some of the most historical events taking place in Brussels.

14. Museum of Ancient Art (Royal Museum of Fine Arts). Features paintings of ancient art. Consists mainly of the Flemish school of 14th to 17th century: Breughel, Rubens, Van Dijck, etc.

15. Musical Instruments Museum – MIM (Old England)
Features musical instruments of all periods and countries including 150 unique pieces in the world.

Photo Link:

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