Antwerp – Heart of Ancient Flanders

On the south coast of the North Sea, in the very place where a wide and fast sheld river flows into it, taking its beginning in France, there is an ancient Flemish city of Antwerp. For centuries, he struck, admired and gave inspiration to great artists, sculptors, writers and musicians.

At the crossroads and styles

According to an ancient legend, a cunning and cruel Giant Antagon settled at the dawn of Christianity on the shore of the shelf, which was highlighted by a high tribute passed ships, and those who refused to pay, cut off his hand. But Fearless Roman soldier Brabo took into martial arts with Giant and killed him. Then cut off his hand and threw it in Sheld. Since the same time, the city is called Antwerp, which translated from Flemish means "Abandoned hand".

The monument to the legendary liberator and now occupies an honorable place on the main and, undoubtedly, the beautiful square of the city of Grote Markt, falling on which, immerse yourself in the atmosphere of life of the Flemish city of the XVI-XVII centuries. In the western part of the square – the majestic building of the Town Hall, a monument of the Renaissance era. And around – the wall to the wall lined the guild houses with carved stepped front alone and elegant gilded figures on pointed roofs. On them it is easy to determine which guild in the past belonged to one or another. And of course, the sea of ​​flowers: they are decorated with every windowsill, they are planted around the perimeter of the square, emphasizing and completing her lush scenery.

Slightly right from Grote Markt, piercing the sky with its sharp spire, a 123-meter Gothic Cathedral of Our Lady, built in 1530. Openwork verticals, covered with the finest stone lace, give the feeling of weightlessness to this very grande and the highest cathedral in all Belgium. On the days of festive worship services, the cathedral holds several thousand parishioners at once. All interior decoration – Strengthened vaults, Relief columns and other volumetric forms – made of marble. The crown of this magnificence – Triptych brushes of the Great Rubens over the altar. On the upper gallery that over the entrance to the cathedral is an old organ. Here once played young Mozart, traveled by Flanders with his father. The most affected by the beauty of Antwerp and the greatness of the cathedral, the composer noticed: "I have never seen such an abundance of white and black marble and such wealth of amazing painting".

Two steps from the Gothic miracle, in the quarter VLAEYKENSGANG, – completely different time and another world. A whole web of the alleys and aisles, sandwiched between seized ivy, neatly seamless old residential houses with coquette lanterns above the doors and unchanged colors on the windowsill. Such peace and calm reign here. What seems to be the sounds of the city go out, getting trapped at the entrance to the labyrinth, and never penetrate inside. Only an intelligence flow of the bell tower freely breaks here, falling from the incredible height of the cathedral.

On the other side of GROTE MARKT – modern residential quarter. However, it is not so simple to recognize it: built in the spirit of national romance, it is perfectly combined with historical development, being a favorite refuge of lovers and newlyweds. Not far away, on the waterfront, a grand castle is minted – the only thing remained from the ancient fortification structures. In the Middle Ages, the castle served as a residence of marking, and today it is located the National Maritime Museum, where a unique collection of models of ships, marine cards and navigation devices are collected.

True masterpiece of medieval architects – Openwork design with glass dome vault on Twaalfmaandenstraat. This is an exchange building. Curious and what commercial stock exchanges – purely Flemish invention. And nearby is a magnificent Royal Palace of the 18th century – a monument of the Baroque heyday.

In the area of ​​Cogels-Osylei Street, built-up with fabulously beautiful houses – palaces with carved spiers, turrets, sculptural and stucco decorations, the most brightly presented XIX century. Antwerp is also famous for the fact that in 1932 the first 97-meter skyscraper appeared here in continental Europe. Antwerp ironically nicknamed him "Farmer Tower".

The historical uniqueness of the Antwerp is that there was an unprecedented interlacing of styles and epochs frozen in a single and harmonious architectural and spatial composition. And each detail of this composition deserves close attention. Even the one who is hard to understand the architectural wischarges, intuitively feels like the age of the city and the mood of the city from the quarter to the quarter, from the street to the street.

Cradle of graceful arts

Such a fame of Antwerp was brought by the names of the world-famous painters and sculptors here, among which such outstanding masters like Wang Duck, Bruegel, Yordans, Sneders and Querlin. But Antwerp is still first known as the city of Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), which spent most of his life here.

In the art of the old town, carefully guarded by the state, the house of the artist, built on his own project. Baroque pomp and luxury, Rubens home itself is an invaluable monument of architecture of the early XVII century. Rich interior decoration: furniture, homemade utensils, their own masterpieces of the master and scenic work from his private collection, a spacious workshop, where he sacred – everything was preserved in pristine form and except admiration gives delight from touching the great secret of his talent.

Rubens’s contribution to the history of Antwerp is truly invaluable. His work decorate numerous cathedrals and churches of the city. Above the Altar of the Cathedral of Our Lady is his famous Triptych "Watering the Cross", "Removing from the cross" and "Ascension of the Virgin Mary". His masterpieces, along with the canvas Van Dick and Yordans, occupy a central place in the interior of the Saint-Paul church. A richly decorated baroque facade of St. Charles Cathedral Borromeuses was partially performed on the Rubens project, and its picturesque canvases occupy the entire upper gallery inside the cathedral.

The exposition of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts on Leopold de Waelpleats accommodates more than 2500 works of old and modern Belgian and foreign masters, among whom, above all, of course, Rubens, as well as Van Deken, Van Eyk, Yordans, Matisse, Enerz, Permek, Woisters and many a lot others.

Flemish painting since sincerversion was virtuosically reproduced in copper and trees engravings, on the trellis wept in Antwerp. Samples of this painting, as well as amazing collections of wicker and seasy flamm laze, can be seen in the Antwerp Museum of Folklore and the museum of applied arts, located in the Gothic castle of the XVI century.

Dozens of monumental and bizarre, funny and thoughtful sculptures are open-air in Middelheim Museum Park. Among their authors – Roden, Moore, Sadkin, Woars.

For dessert – Royal Gift

By a variety of cafes and restaurants, a small Antwerp can be safely competing with European capitals, and they are not inferior to the list of local attractions. Antwerps know a lot about food and drinks and consider them part of the art to live. There are practically no ordinary "Zabelevok". And even in the most inexpensive cafe, everything – from the situation to the quality of food – at the excellent level. Every cafe is unique in its own way. Café terraces, taverns, cafe for business meetings in a relaxed atmosphere, musical and artistic cafes, "sailic" Bars, jazz and folk cafe, romantic cafe for lovers, children’s cafes. In general, the list is infinite, but two similar to find hard. The same can be said about restaurants, the visit of which will always be for you a small holiday. But first you need to decide in which part of the world would you like to dine: in Europe, Asia, America, and maybe in Africa? After all, National dishes of any country of the world can be enjoyed in Antwerp restaurants, even from the most exotic corners of the planet. At the same time, not only classic recipes of national cuisine, but also the rules of traditional serving are strictly complied with. And of course, with the help of interior, costumes and style of customer service, music and show programs are recreated by the unique atmosphere of a country or another.

But as you can be in Antwerp and do not taste the dishes of national cuisine? Belgian cuisine is very diverse, exquisite and original, so an impressive list of dishes in the menu may initially plunge you into confusion. Then boldly order the most popular Paling In’t Groen in Antwerp (eel under the green sauce), Mussels (Mussels), Belgian Fries (Belgian roast), "BOLLEKE KONINK"(Dark Beer), and Elixir D’Anvers" (in translation: "Antwerp Elixir"). I assure you will be disappointed.

By the way, about beer. To date, almost 300 varieties of Belgian beer are known. So be rude, connoisseurs !

After dinner, foreign guests tend to present small boxes with Figure Belgian chocolate – as a gift from the Belgian Queen. And if you are lucky, then there will be a small chocolate crown in your box. And this is something, yes it means !

Antwerp - Heart of Ancient Flanders

Feel like home

"This city is delightful" – wrote about Antwerp Victor Hugo. I think the great writer admired not only the beauty of architecture and the wealth of the historical heritage of this city, but also his unique charm and some special warm atmosphere, which to this day reigns on its blooming streets and squares. Cozy and welcoming, friendly and romantic, Antwerp is a paradise for lovers, a welcoming house for lonely, a fairy tale for children and adults. Antwerpers love and proud of their city, rightly considering it one of the most beautiful cities in the world. They are very sociable and responsive, and, except French and Flemish, as a rule, speak English freely, and often in Dutch and German. But it does not matter if these languages ​​are not available to you: Boldly contact any Antwerp in the language of the Mimici and gestures – you will definitely try to understand, help and even spend where you need. And if foreign languages ​​are not a problem for you, it means that you have a big chance to get here with pleasant dating.

In the meantime, put on comfortable walking shoes and go, for example, in a luxurious, laid back in the Middle Ages Botanical Garden or in the city park. If you prefer to admire the nature in solitude – on the outskirts of Antwerp there are wonderful protected areas, the largest of which – "Nachtegalenpark" and "Ter Rivierenhof". However, visit the zoo, founded back in the XIX century, where even the houses of his inhabitants admire their design. Located in the city center, the zoo has a large aquarium, dolphinarium, planetarium and even the museum of natural science.

Pass along the pedestrian tunnel under the shelda or cross it one of the most beautiful vintage bridges to admire the other shore of the wonderful panorama of the city. Look at the VogelMarkt market, where you can find everything in the world. There you will meet market traders-raised. They praise their goods to the whole voice, trying to shut down competitors. According to the old tradition, every year the humorial election of the market king, the queen and emperor from among the most prosperous merchants are held here.

Enjoy a walk along a half ring of shady boulevards, spread on the site of the fortress walls of the XVI century, and do not pass by the largest in Belgium Amusement Park Whitsun.

List of attractions, perhaps, too impressive for half a million city. From only one look at Antwerp’s tourist map, the head can go around. Therefore, if you are limited in time, you can go around the city in an old carriage or on excursion roads, go swimming on the sheld and admire the city from the water. You can even fly it on a helicopter or a light plane.

Antwerp does not go to bed early. Quite the opposite, he is still blooming, skillfully illuminated by illuminating lights. Sounds of violin and jazz, folk and rock melodies are coming from countless entertainment, from squares and squares, reinforcing the festive atmosphere. Multicolored lanterns and candles are lit on the tables of street cafes-terraces, stretched around the perimeter of the square and the streets of the Old Town. Call pink-lilac light flows from the quarter "Night Fey" Near the port. Diffuses all this colorful life only with the first rays of the sun.

As you can see, opportunities from the soul enjoy life and charge new amazing impressions in Antwerp just inexhaustible.

Aspiring to the future

Carefully keeping his ancient traditions Antwerp actually lives in the XXI century. Today, Antwerp is, first of all, the second largest port of Europe, whose numerous shipyards and docks are drawn to tens of kilometers down to the Dutch border. These are super-modern hotels of any class, huge shopping centers, luxury boutiques and houses of models, the largest exhibition complexes, universities, scientific, cultural and business centers. Antwerp – permanent venue of international trade fairs and congresses, theater and musical festivals. This is a high-quality transport infrastructure that provides ideal conditions for traveling here by any of the famous modes of transport. Developing rapid pace, the city is confidently directed to the future.

Meanwhile, the city bakers still bake the famous "Antwerp Handles" – Biscuits and sweets in the form of a hand paid for their greed and cruelty of antigone.

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