This building is certainly one that has impressed me most in my travels. I loved it the first time I came here on a trip through Belgium, Holland and West Germany some years ago. Returning, I remembered that I had not been wrong. It is spectacular, a clear example of Flamboyant Gothic. And it is a delight to behold. It's one of those few buildings in the world that you can just stay looking at for hours on end. At least, that's what makes me do!
This is the most lively square in the city of Leuven and, dare I say it, the whole of Belgium. This city is famous for having a great atmosphere, thanks to its prestigious university and therefore the number of young people willing to have fun there. Well, all the young folk, plus all the tourists, mainly anyone who wants to have a fun time, usually come every afternoon to the Oude Markt. Loads of terraces packed with young people drinking a beer, having a smack or dinner, surrounded by a few classical buildings that give a special touch to any weekday afternoon. Surely, one of the favorite places of visitors to Leuven. You'll see.
At 27 km away from Brussels, Leuven is known for its Grote Markt Square, in the center of the city, whose most prominent buildings are from the 15th century. Here you will find the imposing St. Peter's Church and the famous City Hall, a Gothic Brabant masterpiece. The square and surrounding area are closed to traffic, making Leuven one of the best cities for walking or bicycling. It is quintessential Flanders. Its university, where he taught Erasmus of Rotterdam, was founded in 1425. Known for its youthful atmosphere, during the month of September, when the students arrive, the people of Leuven rise from 88,000 to 116,000 people. It gives it a special atmosphere of bustle and animation.
Recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1998, this is one of the most spectacular sites in the city of Leuven. Walking through it is something like riding a time machine and hallucinate. It is an old widows beaterio today retains a special aura between these red brick buildings. One imagines riding around on a bicycle with a backpack full of books. It feels very strange but fascinating. It's like a mini-city within another where the clocks stopped many years ago. It is a little away from the center of the city or about 15 minutes or 20 on foot. You can be sure you won't regret it.
This large square flanked by the facade of the University of Leuven Library, is another of the attractions of the city. The University, by the way, is one of the oldest and most prestigious in Europe. It taught Erasmus. Another curiosity about this place is the sculpture in the center of the square, a huge beetle carved into a kind of giant needle.
The church is located in the imposing Grote Markt (the main market square of the city), just across from the ornate City Hall. Built mainly in the fifteenth century Brabant Gothic style, the floor planof the church is in the shape of a Latin cross with a low belltower that was never finished. The first church on the site, was made of wood and, it is thought, founded in 986, was burned downin 1176, and was replaced by a Romanesque church, made of stone, with the western end flanked by two round towers, as seen in the style Basilica of Our Lady in Maastricht . Of the Romanesque building the only part remaining is the crypt beneath the gate of the church today. Construction of the present Gothic building, significantly larger than its predecessor, was begun in about the year 1425, and work continued for more than half a century in a notably uniform style. In 1497 the building was nearing completion, although there continued to be changes, especially at the western end.
Leuven is a beautiful city. Very small but cozy. Ideal for a break. And this is shown in the streets. No matter where you are, you feel the urge to stay a while. Also, they have lots of atmosphere. It is a university town and, for this reason, is full of young people, packed terraces ... On the other hand, and this is something very personal, I love this type of cobblestone cities with low houses, quiet streets, bikes ... You can tell Leuven prototype fits the beautiful city of the low countries.
This is a usual, but charming, square from Belgian cities. It's downtown, and located within the spectacular City Hall or the Church of San Pedro. In addition, there are a lot of terraces and restaurants around, along with the shops that make up the city center. It is also very close to the Oude Markt, a huge square full of young people and of places to drink.
Just before entering the Grote Market, and the impressive City Hall, this is a strange fountain in honor of Wisdom, which makes it known that Leuven is concerned about the letters and knowledge. Not surprisingly, the reputation precedes campus. It's one of the city meetings-spots, making it easy to find groups of friends sitting right at the foot of the statue, which also is located in the heart of the city, leaving all that you can see very hand.
Very close to Grote Markt, this pedestrian street is ideal for a short walk around during the day. It is full of shops, shops of all kinds, the odd restaurant, so there is always some atmosphere. Yes, be careful around here the shops close very early in the afternoon.