La Grand Place, or De Grote Markt (in Dutch), is an iconic square in the Belgian capital of Brussels. La Grand Place attracts tens of thousands of tourists each year, making it one of the most important landmarks in Belgium. In 1998, it was selected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Grand Place is an outstanding blend of architectural and artistic styles that characterizes the diverse culture and society of the Belgian Brussels-region.
The square is surrounded by Brussels’ Town Hall, nearly forty guildhalls and other beautiful buildings from the 14th to 17th century. The 110 by 68 metre Grand Place is also home of the Flower Carpet, a bi-annual event featuring the creation of a colorful carpet design using more 700,000 cut begonias.
La Grand Place has been used as a town square since the 12th century (then called ‘Nedermarckt’), but also played a negative role in the history of the Belgian city. In the 16th and 17th century, hundreds of people have been executed on the town square for various reasons. Witches and protestants were burnt at the stake, while rebellians and other villains were decapitated. Needless to say that the the current role, as the bright center of Brussels, is much more positive.
La Grand Place, with Maison du Roi on the right. image credit
Maison du Roi, or ‘Het Broodhuis’ (in Dutch) upclose. image credit
The wonderful facades of guildhalls n° 8-12. image credit
Overview of Brussels’ main square, with the Town Hall on the left. image credit
The colorful, bi-annual Flower Carpet. image credit
The Grand Place at night. image credit