Grand Place, Brussels, on the absolutely must-see list while in Belgium. The probably most beautiful main square in Europe.
The Grand Place of Brussels looks excellent in the daylight, but it is recommendable to visit it in the evening or at night when all lights and illuminations are on. The place, and in particular the building facades were carefully refurbished in recent years. Today they shine at the full glance. Last month, it was probably the first time for years as I saw Grand Place with no wrappings and scaffolding. I made the picture on a late June 2019 afternoon shortly before the sunset. The golden leaf on the facades can be well seen in the sunlight.
The Brussels Grand Place was set up in the Middle Ages as Brussels was thriving as a commercial center. The square was paved already in the XIII century and was surrounded by buldings that for the most part were build by the Brussels craft guilds. The building with the highest tower (left-hand side) is the Town Hall constructed in the XV century. It was built gradually. Hence the asymmetry. The oldest part is its longer left wing. The right-wing, as well as the tower, was constructed thirty years later. The Town Hall is the only original building at the Grand Place. All other buildings had been reconstructed by the end of the XVII after the Grand Place was bombarded in 1695 by the French forces commanded by Marshall François de Neufville de Villeroy. In fact, the city was so rich that the full reconstruction of Grand Place took only five years after the bombardment. If you look closer at the facades you will among others notice reliefs depicting different crafts. But by far it is not the only symbols decorating the buildings. The Grand Place is on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.