Discovering the Grand Place for the first time generally leaves people speechless and at the end of the day when the surprise is especially heightened. Illuminated by the evening sun, the result is sublime as the facades show off every little detail.
Make sure you check out the gilded gables with volutes, the sculptures and equally the classic pilasters. The facades effectively take a completely different allure whether you come in the morning or at nightfall. And in standing at the centre of the square, you can enjoy the overall view.
You’ll notice a perfect architectural harmony marked at the same time by a baroque, Italo-Flemish style with hints of gothic influence.
It’s not surprising that the Grand Place has been classed by UNESCO for worldwide heritage.
The harmonious ensemble that you have before your eyes is the fruit of laborious work. In 1695, the city of Brussels was devastated by the bombing ordered by the King of France, Louis XIV. This in turn ignited a terrible fire which, with the exception of the Town Hall, reduced everything to ashes. It would be many years later that the Grand Place would be back to its former glory.
Dozens of craftsmen were assigned to the job alongside corporations and many were inspired by Renaissance and Baroque styles.
The House of Brewers, for instance, has its façade adorned by impressive sculptures representing grape harvests and picking of the hop.
It is in these details that corporations stood out and made it possible for the people of Brussels to distinguish their work.
The Grand Place of Brussels © Olivier van de Kerckhove