On Rue Royale stands
the Colonne du Congrès, while Rue Ligne, for its part, leads to the Saint Michael and
Saint Gudula Cathedral. Beautiful classical-style buildings surround Place Royale,
including Belgium's Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts. Nearby are the Palais des Congrès and
the Bibliothèque Royale Albert I, the Albertine. Symbol of Brussels, the famous
Grand-Place is the gem of the city, featuring the town hall and the Musée de la Ville de
Bruxelles, while Manneken-Pis, the famous 60-cm (24-in) statuette, has been relieving
himself here since 1619.Around Brussels The battlefield of Waterloo, a small village south
of Brussels, is now a vast, cultivated land. East of the capital is Louvain, founded
almost 1,000 years ago, which features many buildings of incredible architectural beauty,
such as its 15th-century town hall.Flanders Antwerp, the second-largest European port and
the industrial heart of Belgium, is located on the right bank of the Escault river, 88 km
(55 mi) from the North Sea. This town possesses a rich architectural and cultural
heritage; without a doubt, its focal point is the Notre-Dame Cathedral.
Gent, the country's third-largest city and port, hosts the Floralies
Gantoises(flower show) every five years. The heart of the old town has been magnificently
preserved, with such sites as Place Saint-Bavon.
Bruges (Brugge) is one of the most well-preserved medieval towns in all of Europe. Thanks
to its several canals, it can be explored by boat, which is a great way to admire the
building facades along the waterways. The marketplace (markt) is located in the heart of
the old town and is surrounded by monumental buildings.
Every summer, Ostend, the largest resort town in Belgium, attracts
thousands of vacationers who come to enjoy endless beaches along the North Sea. One of the
most popular events in Ostend is the famous Bal du Rat Mort (Dead Rat's Ball), an
extravagant, philanthropic soirée.Wallonie(French Belgium) Liège is a city whose history
is more than 1,000 years old. It features a number of ancient churches, such as the
Saint-Barthélémy church, as well as several interesting museums, such as the Musée de la
Vie Wallone. West of Liège, the banks of the Meuse river are dotted with lovely historic
towns: Huy, Namur, Dinant. Farther west are Charleroi, Mons and Tournai.Ardennes The
Ardennes mountains are shared by Belgium, France and Luxembourg, and are home to several
small, very peaceful villages such as Spa. Farther north, Belgium's Hautes Fagnes region
encloses a natural park that stretches all the way to Germany.
Where on earth
A small country of 30,513 km² (11,781 sq mi) bordered by
the North Sea, the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg and France, Belgium is home to no less
than 10 million inhabitants who are scattered throughout its 10 provinces and live in
three official languages.