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Exploring the World Heritage Sites of Belgium

Introduction

Belgium is a small European country with a big history. It is home to some of the most iconic monuments and historic sites in all of Europe. From the canals of Bruges to the cobbled streets of Brussels, there is no shortage of things to see and explore in Belgium. But for those looking for something truly special, there are six World Heritage Sites in Belgium that are well worth a visit. These sites are recognized by UNESCO for their unique cultural, historical or natural importance and offer visitors an unforgettable experience. In this blog post, we will explore each of these six sites and discover what makes them so special.

The Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta

Located in Brussels, the Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta are a series of townhouses designed by the renowned Belgian architect Victor Horta. The houses, which were built between 1892 and 1919, represent the pioneering architecture of the Art Nouveau movement. Horta’s works are characterized by their curved lines, stylized floral and plant motifs, and their use of materials such as iron, glass, and stone. The townhouses are also notable for their innovative interior design, with each house having its own unique layout and decoration.

The Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes

The Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes are a series of underground tunnels and chambers dating back to the Neolithic period. Located in the province of Hainaut, the mines are the oldest known flint mines in the world, with some of the tunnels estimated to be over 6,000 years old. The mines contain a staggering amount of flint artifacts, including tools and weapons. The mines are an incredible example of human ingenuity and a reminder of the long history of flint mining in Belgium.

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The Four Lifts on the Canal du Centre

The Four Lifts on the Canal du Centre are a network of four hydraulic lifts located on the Canal du Centre in the Walloon region of Belgium. The lifts were built in the early 19th century to facilitate the transport of goods between the Sambre and Meuse rivers. The lifts are comprised of a series of locks and basins, which are used to raise and lower ships between the two rivers. The lifts are an impressive feat of engineering and a reminder of Belgium’s long history of river transportation.

The Belfries of Belgium and France

The Belfries of Belgium and France are a collection of 44 bell towers located in both Belgium and France. The towers, which date back to the 12th century, are an impressive example of medieval architecture. The towers also serve a practical purpose, as they are used to sound the alarm in case of danger or to announce important events. The towers are an iconic symbol of Belgian history and culture and are a must-see for any visitor to Belgium.

The Historic Centre of Bruges

The Historic Centre of Bruges is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the city of Bruges in the Flemish region of Belgium. The historic centre is known for its well-preserved medieval architecture, which includes a series of canals, cobbled streets, and majestic churches. Bruges is known as the ‘Venice of the North’ and is a popular destination for tourists looking to experience the rich history and culture of Belgium.

The Plantin-Moretus House-Workshops-Museum Complex

The Plantin-Moretus House-Workshops-Museum Complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the city of Antwerp. The complex consists of a printing house, a publishing house, and a museum. The printing house was founded in 1555 by Christopher Plantin and is the oldest surviving printing press in the world. The museum offers visitors an insight into the history of printing and publishing in Antwerp and is an absolute must-see for anyone interested in the history of books and printing.

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The Grand Place

The Grand Place is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the city of Brussels. The Grand Place is the main square of Brussels and is known for its majestic architecture and stunning beauty. The square is flanked by a number of impressive buildings, including the Town Hall, the King’s House, and the Guild Houses. The Grand Place is a popular tourist destination and a reminder of Belgium’s long and rich history.

The Major Mining Sites of Wallonia

The Major Mining Sites of Wallonia are a series of four mining sites located in the Walloon region of Belgium. The sites, which date back to the 19th century, are a reminder of Belgium’s long history of coal mining. The sites include the Grand-Hornu, Bois-du-Luc, Bois du Cazier, and Blegny-Mine. Each site offers visitors an insight into the history of coal mining in Belgium and is a must-see for anyone interested in the industrial history of the region.

The Stoclet House

The Stoclet House is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the city of Brussels. The house was built in 1905 and is an example of the Art Nouveau style of architecture. The house is unique in that it was designed to be a ‘total work of art’, with every aspect of the house being designed and decorated by a different artist. The house is an impressive example of the Art Nouveau movement and a must-see for anyone interested in modern architecture.

The Flemish Béguinages

The Flemish Béguinages are a series of religious communities located in the Flemish region of Belgium. The communities were founded in the 12th century and were originally home to lay religious women known as béguines. The communities are known for their well-preserved architecture and are a reminder of the long history of religious life in Belgium.

The La Cambre Abbey

The La Cambre Abbey is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the city of Brussels. The abbey was founded in the 12th century and is an example of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. The abbey was an important centre of influence in the Middle Ages and is a reminder of the long history of religious life in Belgium.

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Conclusion

Belgium is home to some of the most iconic historic sites in all of Europe. From the canals of Bruges to the cobbled streets of Brussels, there is no shortage of things to see and explore in this small European country. But for those looking for something truly special, there are six World Heritage Sites in Belgium that are well worth a visit. These sites are recognized by UNESCO for their unique cultural, historical or natural importance and offer visitors an unforgettable experience. From the Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta to the La Cambre Abbey, there is something to suit everyone when it comes to exploring the World Heritage Sites of Belgium.

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