Major sights in Brussels

Grand place

The Grand Place or Grote Markt is situated in the centre of Brussel and is famous for its stunning architecture. There is another very famous fact about this square. Every other year it is covered with a huge flower carpet comprising over 500,000 flowers. The Grand Place is surrounded by stunning Baroque buildings. Because of this, it has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site. The square was created in the 11th century and was originally used as a spot where traders and citizens used to trade their goods. Because of this, the streets close to the square are named after food items As a result of the city’s expansion, numerous buildings were put up around the square. In 1695 Brussel was bombed by French troops and most of the buildings were destroyed, but they were restored so that they look like before the bombardment.

Royal palace of Brussels

The Royal Palace is the main workplace of the King and his staff and symbolises the constitutional monarchy. Of course, the King also receives foreign guests, like heads of state or ambassadors, at the palace. The building also hosts the services of the King’s household, the Protocol, the Queen’s Secretariat, the Civil List, the Military household and the offices of the other Royal Family members. In 1965 the tradition was established to open the Palace to the public from 21 July until September. Most of the palace was built after 1900, only the nucleus is from the late 18th century. However, the grounds of the palace were part of much earlier building, which dates back to the 12th century. The name of this castle-like building was The Palace of Coudenberg. Unfortunately, the building was destroyed in 1731.

Jubelpark

The Jubelpark is a large park in the easternmost part of the European Quarter in Brussels. It covers an area of 37 hectares and in summer it’s a popular place to relax. It is also a perfect location to do some sports away from busy roads. The most visible monument is the triumphal arch, which is a symbol for the great history of Brussels and also serves as the entry gate to the park for visitor who enter it from the east.

Atomium

The Atomium is a 102-metre-high structure constructed for the world exhibition in Brussels in 1958. It represents a greatly enlarged cell of iron consisting of nine atoms. The Atomium was designed as a symbol of the atomic age and the peaceful use of nuclear energy by engineer Andre Waterkeyn and developed and built by architects Andre and Jean Polak. The construction weighs around 2,400 tons. There is an elevator in the tower that takes visitors to the restaurant in the top ball within 23 seconds. Stairs and sometimes escalators lead through the connection pipes to the other balls.

Mini-europe

Mini Europe is a park located at the foot of the Atomium in Brussels. Monuments of the European Union are replicated on a scale of 1:25 in the park. 80 cities and 350 houses are shown. The park is known for the high quality of its models. Some of them cost up to 350,000 euros. The park is located on an area of 24,000 m². The total investment in the park until the opening in 1989 was 10 million euros. With 300,000 visitors a year and a turnover of 3 million euros, Mini-Europe is an important tourist attraction in Brussels. Austria is represented by the Melk Abbey. Melk Abbey is a Benedictine Abbey in Lower Austria.

The Manneken pis

The Manneken Pis was designed in 1388 and is one of the most representative and loved symbols of Brussels. At first it played an essential role in distributing drinking water in the 15th century. As the time went on, it got more and more important for the city and it also survived the bombardment of Brussels in 1695. It’s a small bronze statue that measures 50 cm and represents a small naked boy urinating into a fountain’s basin. It is located in the old part of town next to the Grand Place. During special events suitable clothing is provided for the statue.

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