True to its name, the place is resplendent. Imagine a single place where you can observe different architecture styles from three different eras (Gothic, Baroque, Louis XIV) blending seamlessly, forming an architectural ensemble that really is one of a kind!
The Grand Place (Dutch: Grote Markt) was historically a marketplace where goods were traded. As the city grew, market stands gave way to grand buildings built by rich merchants that surround the cobbled square today : The Town Hall, The Maison du Roi (King's House) and the guild houses.
THE KING'S HOUSE
The King's House is now the historical City Museum. As the Dutch name implies, the building was originally a wooden structure where bakers sold their bread.The original building was replaced in the 15th century by a stone building which housed the administrative services of the Duke of Brabant, which is why it was first called the Duke's House, and when the same duke became King of Spain, it was renamed the King's House.
THE TOWN HALL
Notice that the building is conspicuously asymmetrical. It is said that when the architect discovered this mistake, he committed suicide by jumping off the tower!
THE GUILD HOUSES
I found the nearly 40 ostentatious guild houses most fascinating. The buildings were all adorned with golden statues and other embellishments intent on flaunting the status and wealth of their occupants in the 17th century. The gilded statues and symbols were emblematic of their trade. I didn't know there were patron saints for occupations! And cities too!
Le Renard –- House of the Corporation of Haberdashers
Le Cornet –- House of the Corporation of Boatmen
La Louve –- House of the Oath of Archers
Le Sac –- House of the Corporation of Carpenters
La Brouette –- House of the Corporation of Greasers.
Le Roy d'Espagne –- House of the Corporation of Bakers
From left to right: Le Marchand d'or, Le Pigeon, La Chaloupe d'or, L'Ange, Joseph et Anne, Le Cerf
Le Marchand d'Or –- private house of the tiler Corneille Mombaerts
Le Pigeon –- House of the Corporation of Painters
La Chaloupe d'or –- House of the Corporation of Tailors
L'Ange –- private house of the merchant Jan De Vos
Joseph et Anne –- two private houses under a single facade.
Le Cerf –- private house.
HOUSE OF THE DUKES OF BRABANT
Despite the name, no duke of Brabant ever lived here!
The intricacy of the facade is astounding. Can you spot the busts? They are located at the centers of the pilasters.
A close-up of one the 19 busts –- Anthony, Duke of Brabant.
Horse-drawn carriages in front of the King's House
Every two years in August since 1971, the square is carpeted with begonias. A different theme is selected by the organizers biennially.
The theme for 2018 was Mexico.
2016 - Japan
|image credit - https://worldloveflowers.com/events/flower-carpet-2018/|