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Brussels: the Grand Place and the Gothic cathedral

This article is also available in: Italian

The city of Brussels (Bruxelles-Brussel), is located along the river Senne, in the heart of the Belgian region of Brabant: This city owes its origin to the construction, around the end of the 6th century, on a river island (île Saint-Géry) of a small chapel. Later, towards the end of the 10th century, a castle was built on the same island by Charles I of Lorraine (Charles de Basse-Lotharingie).

At the beginning of the 11th century the inhabited center became the possession of Lambert I, count of Louvain, he developed the town which became an important river port and commercial center since the Middle Ages. Brussels was in fact located along the road connecting Flanders and the Rhine valley. In the 13th century the city was surrounded by its first walls, which were subsequently enlarged and rebuilt several times. Growing in importance, Brussels became the capital of the Habsburg-dominated Netherlands.


For the tourist who visits the city today, Brussels retains a medieval-style historic center, with narrow streets and Gothic buildings. At the point where the ancient walls were laid out, today the ring road avenues are located. The main attractions of the city include the Grand Place, which has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1988. This splendid square is overlooked by ancient historic buildings and the marvelous Gothic town hall.

In the historic center of the city there is also the Gothic cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula (Cathédrale Saints-Michel-et-Gudule, Sint-Michiels en Sint-Goedelekathedraal). While not far away is another famous landmark: the Royal Palace (Koninklijk Paleis van Brussel, Palais Royal de Bruxelles). North of the historic city center is the Royal Castle of Laeken (Kasteel van Laken, Château de Laeken) with its large greenhouses.

When to go to Brussels.



This article is also available in: Italian

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