Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Grand Place, Brussels

On May 6th we visited The Grand Place, Brussels. This is the town center. It is very, very old and at one time was the market place. The starting of this market place began with commercial activity at the end of the 11th century. In Aug, 1695 during the war of the league of the Augsbourg's, many of the building were destroyed by the bombing of the French troups. They were reconstructed in stone by different corporations among which are the Maison de la brassieurs(beer brewers), Maison de la boulangers(bakers), Maison de la graissiers(grease makers), ebenistes(fine wood cabinetmakers), archers(archers), bateliers(boatmen), merciers(haberdashers), and quite a few others. Each building housed a different corporation. The buildings are just exquisite, with lots of fancy facades. Many of them are covered with fancy filagree, lots of carvings, sculptures, lots of "gingerbread", and lots of gold. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful town squares in the world. These pictures do not even come close to showing the beauty of these buildings. They are breathtaking.

The hall of justice.

These two photos are of the ruins of the original marketplace.

The streets leading to the Grand Place.

Lace shops near the town square. The lace works really are exquisite.

Lots of waffle stands on all of the small streets. DH and I shared a waffle with fresh strawberries
and whipped cream. And yes, belgian waffles are delicious!

Which one is the real statue?

There is a famous statue in Brussels called Mannekin-pis. Several legends are told about this statue. The most famous one tells of Duke Godfrey who in 1142 was battling other troops. His troops put the little 2yrs old boy into a basket and hung it in a tree to encourage the troops to fight. From the tree, the little boy urinated on the opposing troops who eventually lost the battle. Another legend tells of a merchant missing his little son. Afer summoning many to search for him, the boy was found relieving himself in the garden. The merchant was so grateful that he had a statue made to commemorate the event. Another 14th century legend tells of a little boy who was spying on attackers of his city. The attackers had put explosive charges around the city walls and the little boy put them out by peeing on them, thus saving the city. Another tells of a mother who was missing her son. He was finally found, urinating in a garden. This fountain is very little, only 2 feet tall, and is located on the corner of an obscure, little street. It is very famous and people come from all over to see this little statue.

Several blocks away is a busy street with lots of shops and restaurants. I found this pizza hut amusing because of the air conditioning sign. Very few places have air conditioning.

On the other side of the street.

Modern buildings next to old, old buildings everywhere in Brussels. These streets are all close to the Grand Place.

By the way, the real statue is the one on the right. The one on the left is a guy with make-up on who sits and stands motionless until he unexpectantly moves to startle someone.
If you click on the picture, other than the first one, you can see a lot of the details on the buildings and of the pictures.


Head Nurse or Patient- you be the judge said...

My parents visited Belgium when I was 15- and they took quite a few pictures of the lace goods. Made a big impression on them. They would have brought me some back but I asked for blue wooden shoes that I could really wear- they also went to Amsterdam- I still have the shoes I am happy to say. You are getting to see and visit some wonderful places!

txmommy said...


The Wendler Family said...

I just loved this post! I have seen the Mannekin-pis in person. I however, didn't know all of the legends to go with it. We also hunted down the girl version of the Mannekin-pis. She is a bit larger (maybe its cause you can see her closer) and she is hidden down a little ally way. I guess the women over there thought it only fiar for them to have one too.
I just LOVE the cobble stone and the buildings in your pictures! It brings back maNy memories of Brussels for me. I would love to take Tim there some day. Oh what I would give for one of those waffles. There really are delicious!

Yvonne said...

Great pictures. It's always so amazing to me to think how old the buildings are in Europe--so different than the U.S.

Love the story of the statue--too fun.

Nancy Face said...

These pictures are amazing! It's funny that there are so many legends about a boy peeing, haha! I love the fake statue guy! :)

Robin said...

you are truly amazing. thanks for remembering.