The history of Belgium, namely the peoples inhabiting the territory of present-day Belgium, goes back centuries, during the period of the presence of the Romans on these lands.
The history of Belgium, namely the peoples inhabiting the territory of present-day Belgium, goes back centuries, during the period of the presence of the Romans on these lands. At this time, for the first time by the Roman emperor Julius Caesar in 57 AD, the name "Gaul Belgica" was applied to these lands (the territory enclosed between the North Sea and the rivers Seine, Rhine, Marne and Baal).
The irreconcilable enemies of the Romans, the freedom-loving tribes of the Celts, lived here. One of these tribes was the Belga tribe. Despite their strength, in 51 AD, their resistance was finally broken by the Romans. And as it often happened, they began to impose their own values and system of the device. The Latin language was introduced, legislation based on Roman law. The active spread of Christianity also began. The 3-4th century AD was characterized by the decline of the Roman Empire, which led to the seizure of the lands of the Belgae by the Germanic tribes of the Franks. The Franks mainly migrated to the north, which subsequently led to a linguistic division of the population of Germanic and Romanesque origin, and the territorial border of their division has remained practically intact to our time.
To the north of the line, the formation of the Flemish nation took place, and to the south - the Walloons (close to the French). Charlemagne's 46-year reign of the Frankish state, from 768 to 814, brought him a real heyday. Unfortunately, 30 years after his death, the Treaty of Verdun was concluded in 843, as a result of which the Carolingian empire was divided into several parts, and the process of further disintegration into smaller states continued further. These included the County of Flanders, the Duchy of Brabant and the Bishopric of Liege.
1337 brought the conclusion of an alliance between Flanders and Brabant and the Netherlands, which laid the foundation for the future unification of the Netherlands. In 13-14, the Southern Netherlands was actively developing. Cities such as Bruges, Ghent, Ypres, Dinan and Namur grew actively, which as a result became self-governing communes.
The year 1369 was marked by the conclusion of a marriage union between Philip of Buggund and the daughter of the Count of Flanders, which further led to the strengthening of the power of the Burgundians in Flanders. Crafts flourished, and the centralization of power increased. King Charles V of the Netherlands, who ruled from 1506 to 1555, united the Netherlands under the rule of one monarchy. Under the Augsburg Agreement of 1548 and the “Pragmatic Sanction” of 1549, within the framework of the Holy Roman Empire, seventeen provinces of the Netherlands were united into an independent territorial unit.
After the abdication of Charles V from the throne in favor of Philip II of Spain, a struggle broke out between Protestants and Catholics, as a result of which Philip II was deposed (1581). The Republic of the United Provinces arose, which from 1579 to 1713 (the date of the conclusion of the Utrecht Peace) was in a state of constant war with Spain, England and France. The 16th century saw the partition of the Netherlands, accompanied by a decline in all areas of life. The darkest time has come for these lands.
The federal state of Belgium with three official languages is rapidly developing and distinguished by a diverse culture, refuting the reputation of a "boring" country. The local population is approximately 10 million and consists of Flemish (about 60%) and French-speaking Walloons (40%) and a small section of German-speaking Belgians in the east. Prosperous now one or another community, relations between which have long been difficult.
The north and south of Belgium are very different in appearance. They are united by the capital Brussels - a city in the center of Europe, characterized by a variety of cultures. The North (provinces of West and East Flanders, Antwerp, Limburg and most of Brabant) is a plain, in landscape and architecture similar to the Netherlands. Antwerp is predominantly a Flemish city. It is an old port with excellent architecture reminiscent of the golden 16th century.
In the west of Belgium, there are the famous old cities of Bruges and Ghent, where you can see wonderful examples of medieval art and architecture. The most picturesque region of the country is the Ardennes with valleys, mountains and caves. The city of Namur serves as a kind of gateway. The Ardennes border the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg with green valleys, turbulent rivers and high hills on which old castles rise. The population of Luxembourg is about 80 thousand people, it is one of the smallest European capitals.
French and Flemish-speaking communities coexist in Brussels. This implies that everything (from road signs to the Yellow Pages) is bilingual. Visitors quickly get used to this, but at first there may be some confusion: this is especially true for the names of the main stations Bruxelles-Nord (Brussel-Noord in Flemish), Bruxelles-Centrale (Brussel-Centraal), Bruxelles-Midi (Brussel-Zuid).
Traveling in Belgium is not a problem. Distances are short, and all major centers are connected by good and inexpensive railway lines. However, some difficulties may arise in Luxembourg, where the railway network is undeveloped, and the bus schedule must be carefully studied. Belgian railways have an extensive network and are efficient. The current rates are comparatively low. Inter Rail and Eurail cards, as well as other types of regional cards, are ubiquitous.
SNCB publishes information about its services in a directory that can be purchased at all major stations. Buses are used only for short distances or in the rail-deprived part of the Ardennes. Luxembourg's rail network consists of one main line crossing the country from north to south, with several branches branching out from the capital. However, most of the country can be bypassed by bus. The price of the fares is comparable to the Belgian ones; transport cards are also valid, giving the right to an unlimited number of trips by bus and train.
Short distances and flat terrain attract cyclists to Belgium. At the same time, cycling is quite dangerous in most large cities and on highways, and only in rural areas there are good routes for cyclists with appropriate road signs. For a small fee, you can bring your own bike by train or rent it from one of the thirty train stations in the summer for € 8.50 per day.
Please note that some train tickets include bicycle rentals. Full information with a list of train stations where you can rent a bike can be found on the SNCB website or in the Train & Velo brochure. In Luxembourg, you can rent a bike for € 10 per day, or bring your own by train (but not on the bus) for € 1.10. The Luxembourg travel agency brochures are provided with cycling routes and related guides are also sold there.
Accommodation in hotels in Belgium and Luxembourg is expensive, especially if you want to live in comfort. However, there are cheap options - mainly in simple hotels, the private sector (accommodation in private apartments is offered by local travel agencies) and cheap youth hotels. In both countries, prices for accommodation from 30-50 euros for a double room in the cheapest hotel with one star and rise to 70-120 euros for a comfortable double room in an average hotel.
Excursions in Belgium are, first of all, acquaintance with a large number of medieval architectural sights of the country. It will be interesting for romantic people to visit it, because besides cultural monuments, there are very beautiful landscapes here: mountains, hilly plains, forests, sea and much more. On the eve of the Christmas holidays, numerous fairs and festivals, cities turn into a real fairy tale. It is worth visiting Belgium for such beauty!
The largest number of attractions are, of course, in the capital - Brussels. In Belgium, the main religion is Catholicism, therefore the main part of the country's architectural monuments are cathedrals and churches. The capital is five times older than the country itself. For several centuries, the city managed to be under the control of many neighboring states. But now Brussels is the capital of the entire European Union. It houses the main offices of large European organizations, including the European Parliament and NATO. Upon arriving in the Belgian capital, visit the main square - Grand Place. Ancient buildings, guild houses, the Town Hall harmoniously coexist with modern restaurants and cafes. Church of St. Catherine, Church of St. John the Baptist, Cathedral of the Virgin Mary, Cathedral of St. Michael, Basilica of Sacre Coeur - this is not a complete list of religious temples in the capital. The royal past also left a considerable legacy of its reign - the palace of Charles of Lorraine, the Royal Palace, the Royal Brussels Hunting Park. jubilees of art will be interested in numerous museums and galleries: the Royal Galleries of St. Hubert, the Museum of Ancient Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Constantin Meunier Museum, the Antoine Virz Museum, the Atomimum. For a family pastime, it is worth visiting the Oceanidium and the Mini-Europe park, which contains the most famous monuments of European cities. having settled on the main memos, do not rush to your hotel room. Brussels at night will reveal many new things that cannot be seen during the day. From the capital in just two hours you can reach any neighboring capital. But what can I say if you can go around the country itself in a day, visiting the most significant places. A sightseeing tour of Brussels for one person costs from 100 euros.
Bruges is an amazing city, in the past the residence of the Counts of Flanders. In the Middle Ages, being at the crossroads of important trade routes, it was a major trade center for all of Europe. Now, the city plays the role of a tourist center more. visiting Bruges is definitely worth it! Winding canals, numerous bridges, ancient architecture, wonderful parks give the city a kind of romantic shell. the main market square of the city is the Grote Markt. On it is the Belford watchtower. On the tower you can see unique bell chimes, which play a different melody every hour. The 12th century church of Notre Dame is the symbol of the city. Stained glass windows of stunning beauty illuminate ancient sculptures and walls. Inside the temple, ancient technology is surprisingly combined with modern. The medieval monastery of Beguinage was a safe haven for single women; now the sisters of the Benedictine order live here. Horse Burg, Town Hall, Museum of Fine Arts, Gruthuse Palace, Church of Our Lady, Cathedral of Christ the Savior, Hospital of St. John - the main monuments, a visit to which will help you to better explore the ancient city. The most romantic place in Bruges is the Lake of Love. Snow-white swans are floating on the water, a large park is spread around, lovers have retired on the benches. A group tour of Bruges for 4 people costs from 120 euros.
Antwerp is the largest seaport in the country, the world center of diamonds, the birthplace of Rubens. To explore the city to the smallest detail, you should go on an excursion on foot. Almost all city tours start from the old station building. It is often referred to by the locals as the Cathedral of the Railroad. alshe should go to the diamond quarter. The most luxurious jewelry boutiques can be found there. On the street Meir is the house-museum of the most famous resident of the city - Rubens. The house contains his masterpieces of Baroque painting, as well as the works of his students. The oldest monument in Antwerp is located on the embankment of the Scheldt River. It is a stone castle of the Walls of the 9th century. Inside is the National Shipping Museum. Central Square, Glove Square, Cathedral of Our Lady, Church of St. Carol-Borromeus, Church of St. Jacob, Hrunplatz, Rubens Monument, Jordaens House, St. Andrew's Museum, the Mayer Van der Berg Museum, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, the Ridder Smidt van Gelder Museum are the main places of the city's excursion programs. It is also worth visiting the Antwerp Zoo. This is one of the oldest and most famous zoos in the world. It was founded back in 1843. The zoo is home to over 5,000 animals and birds. An individual city tour will cost from 150 euros.
The classic walking tour of Ghent lasts approximately three hours. the symbol of the city is the dragon. It can be seen on almost every spire in city buildings. It is forbidden to travel in the historic center of Ghent, so it is ideal to explore the main attractions on foot or rent a bike. the main temple of the city is the Cathedral of St. Bavo. It is simply a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. While walking around the city, it is worth visiting: Belfort (watchtower of the city), St. Nicholas Church, St. Michael's Church, Town Hall, Royal Theater, Old Post Office, Graslei Embankment, Flemish Counts Fortress, Friedagmarkt Square. The city can be explored from the water. The river excursion lasts approximately 40 minutes. Along the Leia River, you can see churches, cathedrals, museums and shops from a completely different side. The tour is also available at night. In the dark, the city is illuminated. This unique lighting design cost the city about two million euros. not far from the city is the Gravensteen, the count's fortress. Since the Middle Ages, it has hardly changed. Count's rooms, cellars, prison cells, a museum of torture instruments, a collection of weapons - all of this can be seen by all tourists during a 90-minute excursion. Also, Ghent can be explored as the culinary capital of Belgium. During the excursion, there is an opportunity to taste the most exquisite Flemish cuisine. many festivals are held in the city during the autumn months. Excursions for a group of up to 4 people will cost from 140 euros.
Liege is the industrial center of the country. The city is not entirely touristy, but there is also something to see here. Most of the city's streets are on steep hills, making walking a little difficult. Without the large crowds of tourists, it is easy to see the daily life of the local population. The diameter of the historic part of the city is about three kilometers. This is one of the largest pedestrian zones in Europe. It is best to start the excursion from St. Lambert's Square, after which it is worth visiting the Palace of the Princes-Bishops. and the main market square of the city is the symbol of Liege - the Perron fountain. He is a symbol of freedom. the city does not have many museums and art galleries. The most famous museums are the Museum of Walloon Life and the Museum of Walloon Art. stand - the main resort of Belgium. Five large sandy beaches are ideal for relaxing by the sea. the city has a large aquarium. Nearby is the ship Mercator, which in the past made long voyages. Also, you can visit the Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Modern Art, James Anzor House Museum, Wellington Racecourse, Kursaal Casino.
The picturesque town of Mechelen is located on the banks of the Dil River. This is the main center of Catholicism in Belgium. Since the middle of the 16th century, it has been the seat of the Belgian archbishop. The city is also famous for the production of tapestries, furniture, and beer of the same name. The main attraction is the Cathedral of St. Rumboldt. The tower of the temple is visible even outside the city. Climbing it, in good weather you can even see the Atomimum in Brussels. in the Grote Markt there is a monument to Margaret of Austria, the old House of City Councilors, the Town Hall. It is also worth visiting the Palace of Margaret of Austria, the College of St. Rumboldt, the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul.
When touring Belgium, no doubt visit the small towns. They have a special flavor. Waterloo is famous all over the world as the center of Napoleon's battle in 1815. The city is home to Napoleon's headquarters, the Wax Museum. In the small town of Tournai, there are much more churches than the local population. The ancient city of Bing attracts thousands of tourists every year during the carnival.
Belgium is one of the most prosperous European countries with an excellent tourist service. The sights of Belgium are well-preserved medieval monuments, among which tourists are especially attracted by Gothic castles. The high standard of living in Belgium is directly reflected in the attitude of the state towards historical and cultural sites. We can say that the cult of iconic objects of history dominates here. They are treated as a national treasure.
If you want your vacation to make a lasting impression, consider contacting a tour guide. Guides in Belgium speak different languages and are distinguished by a responsible approach to work - you just need to tell where you want to go, and the guide will make sure that your trip is perfect.
Modern Belgium is interesting to many travelers. This is largely due to medieval castles and squares, which were fortunate enough to survive to this day. When asking yourself what to see in Belgium, don't forget about Belfrey Palace and Gull Tower. The Belgians consider the date of their construction in 1040, and the place of their location was a square in Bruges. The tower can be seen from everywhere, compositionally it dominates the square.
An architectural monument refers to medieval sites. In previous centuries, it was nothing more than a covered market. Trade was actively conducted here, since many trade routes have always passed through Belgium. The realistic originality of medieval architecture can be felt here by touch. The building is monumental, built of solid stone. Due to the discreet color scheme characteristic of the Middle Ages, the palace and the bell tower seem gloomy from the side.
Brown and beige tones prevail on the facades, but upon closer inspection, tourists admire how many architectural and decorative details are on the walls of ancient structures. The square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Currently, the movement of vehicles is prohibited on it.
The Cathedral is dedicated. The building was erected in honor of Saint Bavo. It is interesting for those who have not yet decided what to visit in Belgium. Construction work was carried out for a very long time, at different stages they stopped and resumed again. It is believed that the year of the construction of the cathedral is 1569. After the old abbey of Saint Bavo was dissolved, the church became collegiate. This happened after an uprising against Charles 5. The diocese was founded later, in 1559. Tourists will be interested to know that it was in the church of St. Bavo that Charles was baptized 5.
The Ghent Altarpiece is the cathedral's treasury. Its architecture responds to a specific theme. It is based on . intbaafskathedraal. e/en/index. tml is worshiping the lamb. On the altar stands a defenseless and touching Lamb, bearing the symbol of Christ.
The work of Jan and Hubert van Eyck was crowned with success, and the altar is considered to be a masterpiece of religious creativity. In his composition, in restrained shades, the creativity of the Northern Renaissance is reflected.
The museum recreates the atmosphere of the front-line Ypres. The exposition of the museum, updated in 2012, contains original documents and attributes of that time. Here you can see maps, weapons, uniforms and personal belongings of soldiers.
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