Second Day in Brussels

Today I want to continue to tell you about my travel in Brussels. The entire morning of my second day in Brussels has been dedicated at the photograph workshop and at the awards ceremony of Europe in My Region 2016. So, concluded these activities, I went with my sister to visit the center of Brussels. From the district Europe, we moved toward the Quartier Royal.

We started from the Brussels Park, the largest urban public park in the center of the Belgium city. The park was created in 1783 by Gilles-Barnabé Guimard and Joachim Zinner in a neoclassicist style. In the park there are many statues, fountain and benches where you can rest.

At the southern side of the park there is the Royal Palace of Brussels, that is the official palace of the King and Queen of the Belgians. Built in 1788 by Ghislain-Joseph Henry, the palace has a wonderful interior and an important art collection.  In reality this isn’t used as a royal residence, as the King and his family live in the Royal Palace of Laeken like I said in the previous post. This building is used for the official meetings of the King and it is opened two months for the public holiday of Belgium.

At the opposite side, there is the Belgian Federal Parliament, sits in the Palace of the Nation. This neoclassical building was built by French architect Gilles-Barnabé Guimard in 1783.

Going to left we arrived to the Cathedral of St. Michael and St.Gudula. This is a Roman Catholic church, maybe the most beautiful in Brussels. The cathedral is built of stone from Gobertnge quarry and has two towers typical of the French Gothic style. The church is very decorated, both the exterior and the interior.

Out of the church, we walked toward the center passing the Moof museum (that has an expensive ticket) and the statue of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza (a faithful copy of the original statue located in Madrid).

Then, even if there we were been the last night, we went to the main square of Brussels, the Grand Place. This is a beautiful square, mostly because it’s surrounded by sumptuous guildhalls and two big edifices, the city’s Town Hall and the Breadhouse. The Brussels Town Hall is a gothic building, completed in 1455 and has a 96-metre-high tower in Brabantine Gothic style designed by Jan van Ruysbroek. The Town Hall is definitely one the most gorgeous examples of Europe public palace, above all for its inimitable tower.

The Breadhouse (also called Maison du Roi) from 1887 hosts the Civic Museum, and it’s another beautiful example of Brabantine Gothic style, with three level decorated with many statues. Originally, in 1200 the Breadhouse was just a wood structure for a cover bread market. After a while, the bakers started to deliver the bread door to door, so the building was left empty. Duke of Brabant occupied the palace, and once he became king of Spain, the building was called Maison du Roi. The Breadhouse was redone in Flamboyant Gothic style, but was damaged by French bombing in 1695. The building was used for various use: court, prison, theatre, library. At the end of 1870 the Breadhouse was redone again, this time in neogothic style and was completed in 1895.

The Grand Place is considered one of the most beautiful square in the world, rightly, and in 1998 became Unesco World Heritage Site. Continuin our tour in the center of Brussels, we passed the Cathedral of St.Nicholas the Wonderworker (born as private chapel for the Russian Prince Nikolai Alexandrovich Orlov, in 1929 with the erection of the eparchy, the church became Cathedral of Russian Orthodox Church), the Brussels Stock Exchange (founded by Napoleon in 1801 and merged with Paris Bourse, Lisbon Stock Exchange and the Stock Exchanges of Amsterdam to Euronext), the St Catherine Church (built in 1800, this church joins many styles, with a nice baroque tower, following the St. Eustache church of Paris).

Then we went to see one the symbols of Brussels, the Jeanneke Pis. A modern statue that shows a little girl squatting and urinating on a limestone base. It was commissioned by Denis-Adrien Debouvrie in 1985 to be a counterpoint to the Manneken Pis. Today the Jeanneke Pis is protected by red iron bars from vandalism, making it difficult to see the fountain.

From there we moved although the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert to visit the authenthic emblem of Brussels. The Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert are a complex of galleries with big stained glass, maded in the middle of XIX century by Architecht Jean-Pierre Cluysenaer. The set consists of two major sections (Galerie du Roi and Galerie de la Reine) and a smaller side gallery (Galerie des Princes). These galleries were built following the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan and the Passage in St Petersburg and today are a glazed shopping arcade.

Finished the tour in the Galeries Royale, with a cone of potato chips (the best thing in Brussels, if you don’t consider the Belgian beer), we walked for few meters then we arrived at the Manneken Pis. This is a landmark small bronze sculpture, high 61 cm, that consists in a naked little boy urinating into a fountain. It was designed by Hieronymus Duquesnoy and located in 1618. There are many stories around this staute, but no one is sure. It’s tradition that the statue is dressed in costume several times each week. His wardrobe consits of more eighthundred different costumes (many of which are located in a permanent exhibition inside the City Museum), some of these represent the national dress of nations, others the uniforms of assorted trades, professions, associations, and branches of the civil and military services (obviously when I visited the Manneken Pis I found him naked without any costume). After have made some tourist photos with the little boy, we walked in the center of Brussels tasting some traditional food.

Then we had dinner, took some night pictures of Brussels, and finally we came back at the hotel.

Good light to everyone.

Carlo

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