Antwerp is an amazingly beautiful city. Due to its cultural and historical places of interest, Antwerp has always occupied a special place among cities and towns of Benelux. The centre of Antwerp is home to numerous great museums and architectural sights. The Royal Museum of Fine Arts is known as the most famous museum of Antwerp. The Antwerp Cathedral is often called the most magnificent and fascinating building of the city. The majority of places of interest are located in the central part of the city, and so it's easy to visit all of them by simply walking from one sight to another. Therefore, there’s nothing strange in the fact why Antwerp is so popular with tourists. More than that, if you get tired of walking, you can easily find a place for relaxation in one of numerous coffee terraces of Antwerp. Antwerp is attractive not only because of its historical places. The city’s harbour is another sight that appeals to all kinds of travellers. Antwerp also plays the leading role in the sphere of diamond processing and sale.
The Cathedral of Our Lady.
Antwerp is a perfect place for family holiday. Those tourists, who have come here with their families, should definitely visit the local zoo. It was founded over 150 years ago. Today the zoo is home...
The spectacular tower of the Cathedral of Our Lady is also known as the highest cathedral tower in Benelux. It can be seen from many parts of the city. The tower is 123 meters tall and it is located right in the historical centre of the city. The first stone of this gothic cathedral was laid in the 14th century. However, it took two centuries to finish the work. The cathedral was built on the site of an ancient Romanesque church. Only in the 80s of the previous century, when archaeological excavations were started, the specialists could finally guess how the previous church looked like. Unfortunately, almost nothing has remained from the original interior. In the 16th century, during the period of iconoclasm, the Calvinists destroyed windows, pictures, relics, burial-vaults and dozens of altars. Only some frescos and the image of Madonna, which was made of marble in the 15th century, have remained from the original decoration. The interior of the cathedral was created from the very beginning, and this fact makes the cathedral so special. Here visitors will see the decorations of absolutely different styles, such as Gothic, Baroque, Rococo, Renascence and Neo-gothic. The cathedral is also the location of 4 paintings by a world-famous artist Peter Paul Rubens. These are 2 diptychs (The Descent from the Cross, 1612, and The Erection of the Cross, 1609-1610), The Ascension of Virgin (1626) and The Resurrection of Christ (1612). Beautiful stained-glass windows, the pictures on which depict various biblical plots, look as fabulous as altars. The main altar features one more masterpiece - The Death of Virgin by Abraham Matthyssens.
The House of Rubens.
Without a doubt, Peter Paul Rubens is one of the most famous citizens of Antwerp. Travellers will find a lot of places that remind of the great artist throughout the city. Grundplats is one of the places where visitors will be able to see a monument dedicated to the master. His paintings can also be found in numerous cathedrals and museums of Antwerp. The House of Rubens, in which the painter worked and lived, has still managed to keep the atmosphere of Antwerp Baroque. Thanks to original furniture, pieces of art and works from the private collection of the master, guests will be able to feel the real atmosphere of the Rubens’ times. Another great place to see a collection of paintings not only by Rubens, but also by Van Dyck and Matsys is the House of Rockoxhuis that has been perfectly restored.
The old castle named Gaasbeek is one of most striking sights of Antwerp. The castle was built in the 16th century. The first fortifying facility appeared on the territory of the modern castle back in...
Grote Markt is a three-cornered square, which is considered the centre of Antwerp. When the weather is good, terraces of cafes located at the square are always full of visitors. Grote Markt is surrounded by The Cathedral of Our Lady and the City Hall. The City Hall, which was built in 1561-1564, features the Renascence style with evident Flemish and Italian traces. The top part of the front side of the City Hall is built in the pure Flemish style, while niches and pilasters are the result of the Italian influence. Special attention should be devoted to the interior of the City Hall. Inside tourists will be truly delighted with the look of fabulous halls and huge frescos. Some halls are devoted to a particular theme. For instance, in the Hall of Weddings all walls are decorated with paintings dedicated to wedding ceremonies of different times.
The Guilds houses.
Don’t forget to visit the Guilds houses that are located in the northern side of the square. Unfortunately, these houses are not the original buildings. Most of the houses were burnt down in 1576, and later they were reconstructed. The biggest house is called the Spanish House (Pand van Spanje). You will find it at St. Joris Street 7. The façade of the building depicts a dragon and St. Joris, who manages to escape nearly inevitable death and kill the dangerous creature. The skilful artwork of the façade creates an illusion that the dragon may fall down at any moment.
1. All tourists have an opportunity to get a free city map without any complications. In order to get it simply go to any kiosk located near the train station or Groenplaats Square. 2. Spring or...
The fountain, which is also located at the square, is decorated with the image of a Romanian soldier Salvius Brabo. The monument of the soldier is connected with a legend about the origin of the name “Antwerp”. Once upon a time a giant called Druon Antigoon lived on the bank of the Scheldt. He demanded an excessive fare from sailors, who sailed across the Scheldt. The sailors, who couldn’t or didn't want to pay, had their hands cut off by the giant. Salvius Brabo called the giant, overpowered him and, as a symbol of his victory, cut off his hand and threw it into the river, just like Druon Antigoon did with other sailors. So, as the legend says, the name Antwerp goes from “handwerpen” – “to throw a hand”. Scientists also suppose that the name goes from the word “de aanwerp” – “sandbank”.
Antwerp is a real paradise for museum lovers. The Royal Museum of Fine Arts is the place where one can see not only thousands of works by old school masters (among which you can see, for example, pictures of Flemish primitives), but also approximately 1500 works by modern authors. By the way, this museum is the place that exhibits the biggest and the most beautiful collection of pictures by Rubens. The Museum of Modern Art (Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen – MUHKA) mainly exhibits the works of Belgian artists of the 60s of the previous century.
Antwerp will amaze its guests by a large choice of gastronomy options. Fans of Italian cuisine should definitely visit the restaurant named Da Giovanni, which is distinguished not only by delicious...
The National Maritime Museum is situated in the oldest building of Antwerp - het Steen. Amazing ship models and a section with real ships exhibited in the open air make this museum one of the most interesting places in the city.