A small city, Brussels is at the center of European cultures and institutions. Not only is it the capital of the kingdom of Belgium, it is also capital of 500 million Europeans. The multicultural city is home to many hidden architectural treasures and is a symphony of art and culture.
One of the most magnificent architectural gems of Brussels is the Grand Palace. It is considered as one of the most beautiful places in the world and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.The gothic structure is enclosed around a cobblestone square and can only be approached from one of the six narrow side alleyways. The focal point of the Royal Palace is a 15th century City Hall with spired towers and an antique guild hall from the late 17th century.
Another historic building in the royal quarter is the Old England Building. What used to be a department store in the late 18th century has now become an art nouveau showpiece with high arched windows and a black wrought iron facade. The building contains more than 2000 historic instruments and a cacophony of auditory experiences around every corner. The groundbreaking music museum pays homage to music in all its forms. The rooftop cafe provides breathtaking panoramic views of the entire city.
Among the most overlooked architectural wonders of Brussels is the St-Gilles Town Hall. A splendid Napoleon style building dotted with gilt statuary and painted by the famous Belgian symbolist, Fernand Khnopff. Other must visit sites in Brussels include the Royal Museum, an incorporation of the Museum of Ancient Arts and the Museum of Modern Arts. The massive edifice is home to refined portraits and artistic masterpieces from both world famous and anonymous artists.
The gastronomical scene of Brussels is unlike any other in Europe. The people of Belgium do things a bit differently and this reflects in their cuisine. Most visitors flock to Brussels for its fabled beer and the one of a kind brews of a heady mix of white wine and champagne only found in the city. Desserts in Brussels are rich sugary concoctions that are worth the trip to this amazing city. Some of the most famous local delicacies you must try include a short crust cinnamon biscuit called speculoos, delicious frites, and classic Belgian waffles.
The streets of Brussels are a vibrant wash of colors that are worth exploring. Being the land of Tintin (the famous comic book character), Belgium boasts numerous comic strip murals all over the capital city and attracts illustrators and comic book artists from all over the world.
For the shopaholics, the Jeu de Balle flea market is the largest outdoor market in Brussels and provides a wide variety of vintage artwork, unique crockery, and local artisanal products. The Chasseurs Ardenais Marketis another open-air market and is one of the most popular spots for locals to mingle and welcome the weekend with drinks and food. Places like these reflect the unique vibe of the city that is cool and neighborly at the same time!
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