|Cathedral of our Lady and Brabo Statue in Antwerp|
After having visited the Christmas Markets in Bruges and Brussels, I decided to visit the one in my home town Antwerp where the Christmas Market is spread across the beautiful historic city centre. If you want to extend the Christmas Spirit for a bit longer, what are you waiting for? Go visit the Christmas Market in Antwerp! Most Christmas Markets in Belgium are open till the 6th of January 2013.
|Green Place Antwerp|
We started our trip on the Green Place (Groenplaats). It's not as green as the name would suggest but it is a beautiful square surrounded by popular bars and restaurants. A statue of the famous painter Peter Paul Rubens is placed in the middle of the Square with beautiful views on the Cathedral of Our Lady as background. On your right, you'll find the Hilton Hotel housed in a historical building.
The wooden Christmas chalets, the music and the street artists provide a very nice atmosphere.
|Chocolate Shop Elise|
Continue your way to the entrance of the Cathedral of Our Lady which houses many famous paintings from Peter Paul Rubens. The constructions for this church started in 1352 and ended in 1521, the second tower has never been completed. You can take a tour inside the Cathedral (EUR 5). Tip: if you do not want to pay for the tour but still want a nice photo of the inside of the Cathedral, take the door on your left just before the ticket box and take a photo there.
On your way to the Market Square (Grote Markt), you will find the cute little chocolate shop Elise. We were happily surprised to find Santa Claus here, looks like he definitely loves Belgian Chocolate as well ;-)
|Market Square Antwerp|
The Market Square (Grote Markt) houses many beautiful old buildings like the Town Hall and the houses of the Guilds. A statue of the hero Brabo is placed in the middle of the Market Square (the statue is shown on the first photo of this post).
According to an old legend, there lived a giant close to the river Scheldt (Schelde) who asked money from anyone who wanted to cross the river. If they refused, he cut off their hand and threw it into the river. One day a young man Brabo came along and cut off the giant's own hand and threw it in the river. As per the legend, this is how Antwerp (Antwerpen) got its name, it comes from "throwing hands" which in Dutch is "hand werpen".
|Ferris Wheel Antwerp|
Continue strolling along the pretty wooden Christmas chalets on the Suikerrui till you reach the Steen Place (Steenplein). There you will find the Ferris Wheel which provides a splendid view over the River Scheldt (Schelde) and the historic city centre. You will also be able to get a glimpse of the Port of Antwerp, the second largest port in Europe.
|Ice Rink Antwerp|
The Ice Rink is located on the Steen Place (Steenplein) which provides a very unique atmosphere, skating around with view on the river Scheldt and with "het Steen" - a medieval fortress - as background. "Het Steen" means in English "The Stone" and got this name because at that time most buildings were still made in wood.
On New Year's Eve, there will be the traditional fireworks at midnight and on the 6th of January the New Year's drink for all citizens will take place.
When you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
=> Dreams of Light in Brussels
=> Ice Sculpture Festival in Bruges