Heritage of Belgium

The heritage of Belgium primarily dates back to the middle ages and the 19 th century, with the exception of the Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes, which is around 4000 years old. Belgium is a western European country which is divided into three main regions- Dutch-speaking Flanders, French speaking Walloons and Brussels, the capital city. The heritage of Belgium is spread over various regions of the country and some sites have been designated as World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Here is an introduction to some of the leading heritage sites in Belgium.

•  Historic Centre of Brugge

•  Belfries of Flanders and Wallonia

•  Flemish Beguinages

•  La Grand-Place, Brussels

Historic Centre of Brugge

The historical town of Brugge is one of the commercial and cultural capitals of the European continent. The city is an extraordinary example of a medieval historic settlement where the original Gothic architecture gives the town a distinct identity. The town of Brugge has beautifully maintained its historical foundation alongside its progress over the past centuries. The town is intimately linked with the Flemish school of primitive painting.

Belfries of Flanders and Wallonia

The Belfries of Flanders and Wallonia are bell towers that have its origin in the medieval age. Belfries are generally found in the town centre usually fastened to the town hall or the church. They also represent the shift from feudalism to a commercial urban society. This heritage site was extended in the year 2005, in order to incorporate 23 belfries of France in addition to the belfry of Gembloux.

Flemish Beguinages

The Flemish Beguinages are architectural ensembles which constitute houses, churches, ancillary buildings and green spaces. The layout of the Beguinages is either of urban or rural origin, and the style of construction is specific to the Flemish cultural region. The Flemish Beguinages bear testimony to the cultural tradition of independent religious women in the middle ages in Europe.

La Grand-Place, Brussels

The La Grand-Place was included in the list of the UNESCO's World Heritage sites in 1998. This heritage site in Brussels illustrates some of the most remarkable architectural splendor dating back to the late 17 th century. The La Grand-Place consists of a homogeneous body of public and private buildings which demonstrate the cultural and social life of that period.

The other heritage sites of Belgium which are included in the UNESCO World Heritage list are:

•  Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta (Brussels)

•  Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes (Mons)

•  Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai

•  Plantin-Moretus House-Workshops-Museum Complex

•  The Four Lifts on the Canal du Centre and their Environs, La Louvière and Le Roeulx (Hainault)


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