has always been and still is the large political and trading center. Despite its prominent political status, the city kept its coziness and some special atmosphere. Though the population is nearly 1 million of citizens, historical center of the city is quite compacted – you can walk around it in half a day. There's no need to rush though. It is more pleasant to stroll through these cozy streets, sometimes dropping into historical cafes, many of which have a centuries-long history, just to drink coffee or hot chocolate with waffles, or famous Belgium beer.
, that is concentrated on the small territory near the famous Grand Place Square, you feel like you’re in a fairy tale – especially on the New Year's Eve, when two most popular facades “King’s House” and The City Hall light up with magnificent colorful gradations and change in tune with the waltz sounds. I have never seen such queer sound-and-light show before! Having come from Munich, I left my baggage in the hotel, and before going to bed I decided to walk to the Old City. The closer you are to the central square, the louder the music is from above. When I reached the Grand Place Square, my sleep vanished; a concert by two oldest buildings was at full blast!
This is a music venue on the Grand Place Square on one of the New Year’s evenings.
King’s House is one of the two buildings on the square. It was built in 1536 and renovated in 1873. Now there’s a
museum inside the building where all hand-written linens, tapestry and 815 clothes suites for the Manneken Pis are collected.
Here’s our second participant of the opera. It is a famous Town Hall, spire of which was constructed in 1449 and is 315 feet high (96 meters).
The two buildings begin to light up with fanciful colors in tune with the classical music. Concert begins!
This lightening reminded me the Emerald City from the well-known fairytale.
Colors change so fast, I can barely keep up to take the photos!
The last chord heard and the concert is over. After a short pause, old buildings will start to play with colors again. This fantastic concert appeared to be, perhaps, the most bright and unusual impression of Brussels.
In the morning, with renewed vigor, you may continue your promenade in the historical part of Brussels. Everybody, of course, knows about Manneken Pis, but not everybody finds a Jeanneke Pis monument in the labyrinth of Brussels’ streets. This is an alternative monument which was erected in 1987 at the very end of Rue des Bouchers in the Fidelity Alley. I managed to find it and the girl, by the way, is the feministic version of her brother. She just took a piss and is showing everyone the result.
Note: I was just told that it’s not Jeanneke Pis. The real Jeanneke Pis is in another dead-end alley detached to the Rue des Bouchers. It is another reason to go to Brussels again.
On the small Agora Square, a funny monument to Charles Bulls, the major of Brussels in 1881-1899, is situated.
Once again we come to the Grand Place Square. The weather is gloomy but it’s not a problem. Let’s now stop for a moment and examine some of the buildings in more detail. Behind the Christmas installation, there’s a House of Dukes of Brabant.
On the left, there's a façade of a building “Le Pigeon”, where Victor Hugo used to live.
It seems like we're in the museum:
“Le Renard” (“The Fox”). This house was built in the end of XVII century for a craft union of haberdashers.
You can see “The Fox” building, “The Horn” and “King of Spain” left to right.
The most famous bar with a terrace is located in the “King of Spain” building now. Bar offers traditional Belgium specialties. I had an occasion to dine there twice – I tasted Belgian stewed beef and a roasted duck. It was very delicious! And, of course, I tried Belgian beer. It is very different from Bavarian. Belgian beer is more potent, with some special bitterness and very deep taste with its special unforgettable flavor.
And now I present to you Manneken Pis - a Belgian classic!
This is a new piece of modern art.
Let’s leave Grand Place neighborhoods for a while. The Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula is situated not far from a railway station and is known as the national church of Belgium.
A very unusual exhibition of Christmas installations caught our attention in the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula. They were made by different countries. Here, for example, you can see Brazil:
Japan and Korea are also here:
Central Park of Brussels faces the square in front of the Royal Castle.
Now we complete a circle and once again return to the Old City.
In the beginning of January in such chilly weather, Gluehwein is exactly what you need!
A 70-year-old man rocking out on his electro-guitar:
There are a few photos of a very beautiful Park of the Fiftieth Anniversary and the Triumphal Arch that are located a few metro stations away from the Old city.
On the Rue des Bouchers lights start to glow, cozy shop windows are waiting for you to come in. This long day in Brussels is coming to the end…