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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

The Grand Place

Standing there at the medieval square of the Grand Place, I was dazzled by the grandeur of the many ornate buildings that surrounded me. A UNESCO World Heritage site, The Grand Place is one of the most beautiful squares in Europe.

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
Maison du Roi in French or "Broodhuis" in Dutch (House of Bread)

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
In 1695, the French army bombarded Brussels and destroyed most of the  buildings housed in The Grand Place. They were all rebuilt except the Town Hall, the square's only remaining medieval building. At its summit stands a 5 m (16 ft) tall statue of Saint Michael, the patron saint of Brussels, slaying a demon.

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!
From left to right: Le Renard, Le Cornet, La Louve, Le Sac, La Brouette, Le Roy d'Espagne,

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.

Statue of Saint Hommebon of Cremona (patron of tailors) atop La Chaloupe d'or




HOUSE OF THE DUKES OF BRABANT

Sharing the same neo-classical monumental facade, the House of the Dukes of Brabant is home to seven guild halls. The building is so called because of the 19 busts of the Dukes of Brabant that grace the facade's pilasters.

Fun Fact
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.

Over half a million begonias are painstakingly arranged into an intricate tapestry and cover the cobblestones of the Grand Place for one weekend only.


The theme for 2018 was Mexico.

2016 - Japan
image credit - https://worldloveflowers.com/events/flower-carpet-2018/


Musings Of A Tired Mummy

34 comments:

Hootin' Anni said...

I am in awe! Such rich history...beautiful

I know I could spend an entire week here and not see it all. Thanks for this dazzling tour.

riitta k said...

The Grand Place really reserveissä its name - gorgeous buildings & those flowers carpets!

riitta k said...

Sorry - deserves its name!

carol l mckenna said...

Such amazing architecture and great photos of a dazzling place ^_^

Happy Day to You,
A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor)

betty said...

Wow! I can't imagine how impressive it was to see all those buildings like that! So rich in history and architecture! And those flower carpets of begonias! Imagine how many begonias have to be grown to accomplish that! Kind of like the Rose Parade here in California for New Year's Day!

Very impressive!

betty

Mellie said...

Wow, what a gorgeous place!

Mandy said...

I absolutely love that they do a massive carpet of flowers at The Grand Place every two years. That would be amazing to see in real life! Thanks for sharing about this amazing place! I will need to add it to my bucket list. :)

<a href="https://aandj8804.blogspot.com>With Love</a>,
Mandy

NCSue said...

Wow! Such artistry!
Thanks for linking up at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2019/07/pine-tree-versus-windshield.html

Mother of 3 said...

What beautiful buildings! I just love that old architecture.

Lydia C. Lee said...

Such a magnificent square - would be good to have been there for the flowers!

stevebethere said...

And it is very grand too I love old archetecture, nice photos :-)

Have a grandtastic week :-)

Jeannette Wentzel said...

Amazing how they managed to do all this without all the complicated technology we have today. So beautiful! #Globalblogging

Mary K.- The Boondocks Blog said...

Architecture galore and a feast for the eyes. I could spend a whole day just looking at the buildings. And then to have the flowers as well is truly spectacular.

Suzy said...

One word...magnificent !!

NanaHood said...

Those are some elaborate buildings! Glad you got to see them! Have a great week and thanks for stopping by NanaHood

Cristina - Memories of the Pacific said...

It is one of the most beautiful squares in Europe indeed! I was there 9 years ago a few weeks before Christmas and it was stunning

Meditations in Motion said...

I learn new things every time I read one of your posts! My hubby is an architect. He would love to visit.

The Writing Greyhound said...

I've never been to Brussels but it looks incredible from your photos! The attention to detail in the architecture is just stunning x

betty-NZ said...

Wow, that architecture is so stunning! I'm sure you had a great time checking out those carpets of flowers.

Your post rocks at 'My Corner of the World' this week!


My Corner of the World

Christina Morley said...

Wow! That's so fabulous and interesting, and I really enjoyed the photos! Thanks for linking on Amanda's Books and More.

rupam sarma said...

Beautiful pics

Tom said...

...Veronica Lee, to say the least, I'm blown away by the details of these buildings. For me this is sensory overload, I will need to return and drink in small bits of this beauty over and over again. Thanks for sharing this post at Tuesday's Treasure. I hope that you will be able to return again.

Sandee said...

Wow. Lucky you to get to see this in person.

Thank you for joining the Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop.

Have a fabulous Wordless Wednesday. ♥

mail4rosey said...

Yes, that architecture is a joy to see! Happy WW!

Chris Blackwood said...

The architecture is magnificent and the pictures are great.

XmasDolly said...

Hi Girlfriend, You go the coolest places. I swear I'm going to hide in one of your suitcases. This is actually VERY AWESOME & THAT'S THE KING'S PALACE? HOLY COW! I have to run to the eye doctor, but I wanted to stop by first. BIG HUGS & THANKS FOR SHARING! TOTALLY AWESOME........... HAVE A GREAT DAY!~

little orange dog said...

Absolutely beautiful photography and I am blown away by that carpet of flowers, it seems a shame that all that intricate planting is their for only a weekend. Thank you for sharing your trip with us.#bloggerclubuk

Sylvia | Grace for a Gypsy said...

What a grand place to visit, the buildings are beautiful. But that gorgeous carpet of begonias is breathtaking! Thanks for sharing your photos and the rich history that came with them.

loopyloulaura said...

The Grand Place looks like a fab place to visit and photograph! I wonder why there is a link with the Dukes of Brabant if they've never lived there... Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging

An Apel a Day said...

I like the splash of gold bits on the buildings! WOW! The tapestry on the ground is so amazing. Love the colors!

Maya Kuzman said...

Wow! What a wonderful travelog Veronica! This is just a place I could get lost in! Thank you so much for sharing with us!

Indah Nuria Savitri said...

Look at all the details! I am a big fan of bridges as well and never get enough of taking the pictures

Minoru Saito said...

Hi! Grand place is very beautiful area. I visited there one year ago. I enjoyed the beautifulness of your country very much.

Minoru Saito said...

Hi! My blog at Grand Place is as follows.
https://minorusaito.blogspot.com/2018/05/brussels-and-bruges.html