UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Brussels - Belgium)

Brussels in Belgium is a proud owner of quite a few UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 6 to be exact. But if you write it down  you may wanna list it as 1, 2, 3a, 3b, 3c and 3d. I'll explain that now.

1. Stoclet Palace: To begin with, its a private property. So, you can't get into it! All I did was to admire the building from the road. This was commissioned by banker and art collector Adolphe Stoclet and was designed by the Art Nouveau architect Josef Hoffmann. It was built in 1905-11. Stoclet is every designer's dream come true, coz he did not have any restriction on aesthetics or money when he hired Hoffman and he made his creation of lifetime. This palace, houses one of my favourite paintings, Gustave Klimt's Kiss!!! 

Atop the building is the bronze sculpture of 4 n*de men by Franz Metzner. All the iron window grill detailing depict the typical Art Nouveau styling. The shape of the whole building itself is very modern and to imagine that it was built in the beginning of 20th C, its rather an outrageous design!!! Till date the palace is occupied by the Stoclet family. I really hope they open it to public, even if its heavily ticketed!

2. Grand Place: Remember my earlier post on the Flower Carpet, that location is Grand Place. The oldest reference to this place dates back to the 12th century, when this was a market place for a settlement in the banks of river Sienne. It was then surrounded by municipal buildings. Later in 1695, Louis XIV bombarded the city and it was completely destroyed in 3 days. Very few buildings survived this attack. However the whole market place was completely rebuilt in a Gothic style just like how it was before. It underwent several transformation over the years to how it looks today. 

The building whose balcony is accessible during Flower Carpet is the Stadhuis van Brussel or the Brussels Town Hall. Since its a townhall, its actually a building, much in use, as government office. A stroll inside made me so astonished that how lucky those employees are to sit in the midst of such exquisite murals in an everyday basis!!! The oldest part still surviving part is from 1420 CE and that's where I got to visit!!! However its only building that survives, the entire interiors incl the murals & tapestries were made in 1868 by Victor JamarThe entire interior - walls & ceiling is all covered with murals and the entire exterior is filled with sculptures. The tower which is an octagonal openwork is 96m tall.
On either sides of this building are the tourism office & beer museum. Opposite to this is Maison du Roi which houses the city museum. All the other buildings are also built in the gothic style with golden gilded detailing!
3. Major Town Houses by Victor Horta: So as I said in the beginning of the post, the 3rd in the list of UNESCO is actually 4 buildings designed by architect Victor Horta in Art Nouveau style - Hotel Tassel, Hotel Solvay, Hotel van Eetvelde and the House and Workshop of Victor Horta. This House & Workshop is preserved as a Museum today and is open to visitors from 2PM Tue-Sun. Unfortunately I couldn't go there. Of the 3 hotels, I visited Tassel & Solvay. 
Built in 1893, Hotel Tassel is also a private property, however its open to visitors on the 1st saturday of every month. From the exterior, every door, their handle, every window, the iron grill detailing, columns and every little detail were inspired by leafy patterns & exhibited Art Nouveau. 
At a walking distance is the next place. Built in 1894-1903, Hotel Solvay, also a private property, was commissioned by Armand Solvay. This is pre-booked group visits only. Just like Hotel Tassel, this too oozed Art Nouveau in every detail.
For any traveller, the best way to explore Belgium easily is by getting the Brussels Card & Transport Card which gives free entry to 37 points of interest and discounted entry in many others. Though the Brussels Card includes free rides in Hop-in Hop-off service, I prefer the public transport with buses, metro & tram, so I got an extra 1 day Transport Card. However Metro connectivity isn't that good as buses & trams.

To Get There:
Grand Place: Refer to my earlier post
Stocklet Palace: Nearest Tram & Bus Stop - Leopold II; Nearest Metro: Montgomery
Hotel Tassel & Solvay: Nearest Tram & Bus Stop - Bailli; Nearest Metro: Louiza
For Group Bookings at Solvay: info@hotelsolvay.be

P.S: I was invited by VisitBrussels to experience the city for review purposehowever the opinions are my own and this post does not to advertise the product/service.

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

16 comments:

  1. Super Busha!! These are places that we study and teach about in HPD :)

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  2. Ahh :)

    You know, Brussel is just one of those cities I thought I would have visited as it is at the crossroad of everything... Yet, it is one city in Europe I have yet to visit! Should aim to change that some day, and soon :)

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  3. There's always something in the world heritage site when you visit them and with this article you shared I am in awe. Those old building structures are very awesome. I wish to visit Brussels very soon. Thank you for sharing this one.

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  4. I like walking along historic streets in Europe. I had walked and been amazed with streets and old houses in France, Spain and Italy. Hope to get to go around Belgian streets too in the future.

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  5. It's nice that Belgium was able to preserve these structures. It would be nice to check out this heritage sites.

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  6. So much art and history! I would love to see them for myself. I love the craftsmanship and to think these were built a long time ago.

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  7. Another great content with historic picture. Kudos to you. I adore reading about historical things. Thanks for sharing

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  8. Structures are really amazing. Makes you wonder, how they have managed to create those intricate details of architecture. I love em.

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  9. Europe is full of awesomeness!! The more I read about it, the more I want to visit it. Brussels is an amazing city as per my parents and hubby too.

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  10. We are going at new year, and I definitely want to see the Grand Palace....there's a couple of things new to me here, which I now will look out for. Thankyou for sharing about the transport and metro it is different everywhere so that is going to be really helpful.

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  11. Such gorgeous sites. I would love to see the Grand Place in person. Its details are very elegant.

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  12. I have been so close but haven't gotten there yet. Its definitely on the wish list!

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  13. I always get reminded of the brussel sprout jokes about the country. It's amazing the number of places you've visited and shared. It's almost like a Europe directory.

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  14. I wish to go to this part of world, and leave my footsteps there... So nice!

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  15. Wow, Brussels looks so nice in your photos. I want to bring my family there, maybe next year for the holidays.

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  16. What a post! I have never been to Brussels but I am definitely revisiting your blog when I go there. You have so much information! It makes me feel like I just took a tour through your blog. Thank you for connecting me to a world heritage on the other side of the world! :)

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