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Top Rated Attractions in Brussels

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Town Hall

Brussels Town Hall is an intricate Gothic marvel that forms the focal point of Brussels' iconic Grand Place and is easily one of the city's most lavish civic buildings. The Town Hall was chiefly designed by two architects: the left wing by Jacques van Thienen in 1402, and the right wing by Jean van Ruysbroeck in 1445-1450. The two rear wings were added much later in 1712 but were designed in harmony with the architectural style of the original, L-shaped building. The exterior walls of the Town Hall feature numerous statues that depict saints, nobles, and other figures, each a vivid image of the people they represent. Uniting these efforts is the striking and exquisite Gothic tower at the center topped by a statue of St. Michael, the patron saint of Brussels. Inside, the elegant rooms are decorated with tapestries and paintings from the 16th, 17th and 18th Centuries. Brussels Town Hall is an arresting sight, especially when lit up at night.

Manneken Pis

This whimsical fountain takes the form of a nonchalant, unclothed boy relieving himself into a basin, a symbol indicative of the city of Brussels' eccentric spirit. A drinking-water fountain that dates back to the 15th Century, the original Manneken Pis was replaced by a bronze cast in 1619 by Jerome Duquesnoy. Although the cheerful little lad survived the bombardment of Brussels in 1695, the statue was repeatedly stolen and retrieved making for a rather colorful history that is heartily embellished with folklore and legends. Following its abduction in 1965, the original was once more rescued, this time from the depths of the Charleroi Canal, restored and placed under the care of the Museum of the City of Brussels, and replaced with a copy. The spirit of this cheeky icon has not diminished, however, but instead has come to be world-renown. With a wardrobe composed of over 900 outfits, the Manneken Pis is dressed in different garb at varying points throughout the year, an event that attracts visitors from near and far. From the 19th Century onward, the Manneken Pis no longer dispenses drinking water but instead is an ornamental fountain. A rather small and undeniably odd image for a cultural icon, the Manneken Pis, or "peeing boy," nonetheless remains a treasured symbol of Brussels' irreverent wit.

Cantillon Brewery

This family brewery is home to Lambic, Faro, Kriek, and Gueuze beers. Since Cantillon's founding in 1900, the brewing process has remained the same; the brewery, similarly, has maintained its original charm and decoration as well. You can experience all the stages of the beer creation process from smelling the original aromas of the ingredients to the bottling of the beers and the eventual tasting.

Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and of Military History

The Royal Military Museum strives to illustrate the evolution of warfare technology from the Middle Ages onward. Walk through the displays and marvel at historical weapons, armor, medals and pennants from around the world. Make sure you visit the Napoleon collection for a particularly fascinating look about the Battle of Waterloo. There is also an onsite shop and cafeteria.

Royal Palace of Brussels

With its stately facade, opulent interiors and lush, formal gardens, the Royal Palace is a fitting abode for the offices of the King and Queen of Belgium. The individual rooms are lavishly adorned with crystal chandeliers, gilded details, antique furniture, exquisite artwork, and detailed carvings. Of special note is the artwork that adorns the ceiling of the Mirror Room, composed of over a million beetle carapaces inlaid to form intricate designs. Each Summer, the palace is opened to the public; a time-honored tradition that grants access to this symbol of Belgium's thriving monarchy.

Museum of Old Masters

Housed under the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, the Museum of Old Masters, as the name suggests, presents a vast collection of art from the 15th through the 18th century of French and Dutch origin. This museum houses painting from the Flemish Renaissance and Baroque periods, including works by Bosch, Rubens, Van Dyck, and many more. There is a museum shop and a cafe on the premises.

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