Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Grand-Place, Brussels, Belgium

(please click to enlarge)

Despite being one of western Europe's largest metropolises, the capital of Belgium, and the home of the massive European Parliament and other international institutions, the city of Brussels remains strangely unknown to those who have never visited. In fact, I arrived in Brussels with little idea of what to expect, apart from fries, plenty of beer, and the Grand-Place, pictured above. Though the square dates back to the turn of the 2nd millennium, all of its existing buildings (except the Town Hall, not pictured) were renovated or built in a patriotic flurry of the late 19th and early 20th century, in exceptionally ostentatious brand of eclecticism.

Despite being at the heart of Brussels, the grandiose Grand-Place is a bit out of character with the rest of the city, which is generally not as uniquely extraordinary. Nonetheless, in reflection of its very multilingual status, the city is also more diverse and multi-faceted than any other that I've come across in Europe.

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