Thursday, November 5, 2015

Antwerp and its Beauty

We arrive in Antwerp at the beautiful Central Station , one of the world’s most impressive railway stations. Just in front of the station was our  hotel, the Radisson Blu – another interesting building. 

Antwerp, the second largest city of Belgium is one of Europe’s most important cities and home to the famous superstar artist Pieter Rubens.  Antwerp is a splendid city with numerous architectural highlights that date from the 16th and 17th century. It is also the diamond centre of the world. We spend the next few days monument-hopping, drinking Belgium beer and enjoying Rubens’ paintings in the impressive cathedral. 


One of the main landmarks of Antwerp is its railway station. Dubbed the ‘Railway Cathedral’ , it is one of the world’s most impressive railway stations. 

The station was completed in 1905 and replaced an earlier wooden one.
The main building has a huge dome over the main waiting hall and the platforms are covered by a huge iron and glass vaulted ceiling.

In 2009  the magazine Newsweek judged Antwerpen-Centraal the world's fourth greatest train station. In 2014 the British-American magazine Mashable awarded Antwerpen-Centraal the first place for the most beautiful railway stations of the world.

The rich interior of the station is lavishly decorated with more than twenty different kinds of marble and stone. The main hall and the railway cafeteria can match the interiors of many palaces. Not a single square meter either inside or outside the building is not decorated.

This historic cathedral that dominates the city of Antwerp was built between 1352 and 1521 and is listed on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List.
This is a masterpiece of Gothic Architecture and is the largest church in Benelux. The 123 mtrs tall spire is the tallest in the city. Forty seven bells hang in the tower

Antwerp Cathedral's interior is an impressive sight, with sweeping Gothic lines and soaring vaults, all in gleaming white. It has an amazing collection of wood carved items – largest of which are the monumental choir stalls.


A major attraction for visitors to the Antwerp Cathedral are the four masterpieces  by Rubens -  the ‘Descent from the Cross (1632) being the most notable .


The city hall in Antwerp is one of the most important tourist destinations in Antwerp. Built in 1561, the facade is richly decorated with statues, ornaments and coat of arms. 
Throughout most of the year, the main façade of the city hall is decorated with 87 flags. The central flags on the bottom row represent Antwerp, Flanders, Belgium, Europe and the United Nations. The other flags represent countries that are member of the European Union and nations that have a consulate in Antwerp.
The Grote Market and Brabo Fountain

Antwerps main square is the Grote Markt . This compact square is pedestrianized and surrounded by beautiful Guild houses . The centerpiece of the square is a large fountain built in 1887. The statue represents the legend according to which , a giant Antigoon   demanded a high toll for each ship that wanted to enter the city. If the ship's crew did not want to pay the toll, their hands were cut off. The hero Brabo fought the giant, cut its hand and head and threw the hand in the river. 

The fountain's statue depicts Brabo throwing the giant's hand in the river Scheldt and symbolizes the free passage through the river. 
Het Steen

The oldest building in Antwerp is a medieval fortress made of stone. This 800 year old fortress was built  around the year 1200. It was named Steen ( the Dutch word Steen means stone) as this was the first large building constructed in stone. What remains today is just 1/6th of the original castle along with the imposing entrance gate. An inclined ramp leads to a small inner courtyard.

At the entrance bridge to the castle is a statue of a giant and two humans. It depicts the giant Lange Wapper who used to terrorise the inhabitants of the city in medieval times.

To see my portfolio of photographs please do visit my website Pravine Chester Photography

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