Brussels – 5 Interesting Things to Do

Brussels

Brussels was once a 10th century fortress which was established by a descendant of Charlemagne. Since then, it has grown into a huge metropolitan area that is home to more than one million people. However, it is still rich with history, charm and old world style if you visit the right places. Some of the most beautifully designed buildings in the world can be found in Brussels. Be sure to visit as many historical sites as your time allows.

Here are just a few of the unique and must see places in the city.

Royales Galeries Saint-Hubert

Shopping enthusiasts will love this place. It’s known as Europe’s oldest glass arcade and was built in 1847 after 9 years of trying to acquire property rights. It houses fashionable boutiques and cool cafes, and a theatre which plays operettas and revues. You can read some interesting history on Wikipedia by visiting http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galeries_Royales_Saint-Hubert

Most of us think of an arcade as a place to play games, but in the world of architecture an arcade is a succession of arches, each counter-thrusting the next, supported by columns or piers. This means they are all connected in rows. The Royales Galeries Saint-Hubert is worth visiting to view this magnificent piece of architecture.

Brussels’ Flower Carpet

Every other year for five days in August, the Grand Place square is adorned with a sea of beautiful colour, as thousands of begonias are laid out in stunning patterns.

This event takes place during even numbered years; 2012, 2014, 2016, etc. If you get a chance this is one exhibition you don’t want to miss. It consists of millions of begonias as its main construction flower and the design changes each time this carpet is laid.

Christmas Market

This event runs from the end of November through to about mid-January. This is a bustling time of year as traditional Christmas shopping stalls are erected in the heart of Brussels and covers about a 2km area. Not only is it full of stalls where you can shop, but it also is full of chalets, attractions, activities and terraces you can enjoy in between shopping. There is so much entertainment going on that it’s more of a festival than a market place, but no worries, you can buy all types of food and trinkets to mark your visit to Brussels. If you love Christmas, this is one place you want to see as Brussels goes all out for the Christmas season. There’s even skating and a Ferris wheel.

St. Nicholas Church

If you love history and architecture, you’ll definitely want to see this church. It’s surrounded by old houses that are beautiful all to themselves. Even though this is a small church, the homes are nestled beneath it.

The church was built a thousand years ago, but very little of the original structure remains. It’s been rebuilt and renovated due to war. It was originally designed in 11th-century Romanesque style, but these days those lines are hidden by a 14th-century Gothic facade. These repairs were made after the 1695 French bombardment. In fact, one of the pillars still has a cannonball lodged in it from that era.

Constructed in the 11th century, this fine example of medieval architecture is the oldest church in Brussels. If you are lucky, you may even catch one of the occasional services given in English.

The Grand Place

This is one of Brussels’ premier tourist sites. People are drawn by it’s beautiful architecture and the neighbouring shops to buy souvenirs from this wonderful city. It is home to Town Hall, the Maison du Roi, Guildhalls, and is the location of the Flower Carpet that is laid out every two years.

This location has a rich history as an open-air market in the 11th century and has grown into what you see today.

While you’re in Brussels, don’t forget to have some Belgian chocolate. No visit to Brussels or anywhere in Belgium would be complete without experiencing this delicacy first hand. It’s also the perfect gift to take back home to those chocolate lovers in your family.

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