Belgium: Mons – European Culture Capital
In 2015, two European cities were declared the European Culture Capital – Plzen, the Czech Republic, and Mons, Belgium. Today, we visit the latte. We will introduce you the city as for culture, and history, and recommend you some sights worth seeing.
The city of Mons, Belgium is to be found near the French border. It is set in the province of Henegouwen, Valonia and its history goes as far as to the Neolithic era. It is here where this place was settled for the first time. First it came to the time when the Romans settled there. They built a fort called Castri Locus. First mentions of the city that grew around the monastery of St Waltrude date back to the 7th century. Already in the 13th century, first noticeable population growth happened, and trade and construction with it. During the industrial revolution era, the city changed profoundly. Mining industry settled there as rich coal resources were found around the city. Mining slowed down, on the other hand, glass and steelwork industry replaced it. During the first world war, the British and German armies fought there for the first time. Since 1967, the city has been the headquarters to the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe of NATO. The city of almost 100 thousand people lives with quiet life, and offers a lot to the holidaymakers. It will get even better with the prestigious title this year.
Should you visit the city in the near future, you will enjoy many more events such as festivals, art exhibitions, theatre plays, dance performances, or fashion, and gastronomic shows. You would visit five new museums, and walk at many places, even mysterious.
The City of Celebrities
We would like to recommend Vincent van Gogh exhibition who lived there for some years. Mons is truly proud of him. He wasn’t the only celebrity related to this city, for instance Victor Hugo. He was the first one to describe the Belgian city to his wife. Paul Verlaine, famous French poet, was imprisoned there. Or Gilles Binchois, the Burgundian compositor, or singer Salvatore Adamo lived there.
Mons hosts three universities, the RAEC Mons football club, and many beautiful sights. With no doubt, among the latter is Grand – Place square set in the historic core of the city. On the square, you can see fascinating building of the town hall, the St Waltrude church, and the bell tower of Belfry (Beffroi) which is part of the UNESCO’s World Heritage. The tower was built in the 17th century and today the 87-meter tower is the only piece of Baroque architecture in Belgium. On the top, there is a carillon that consists of 49 bells. One should also visit the birth place of compositor Orlando di Lasso. Mundaneum is very unique as it was the archive that holds sort of a predecessor of the Internet. Yet, the Internet! This predecessor consists of 12 million cards. More than 100 years ago, Belgian lawyers Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine intended to collect world’s knowledge and make it accessible to the public Hence, it is a unique archive that has been rightfully part of UNESCO since 2013.
Only recently, a new landmark became part of the city, the congress center of Mons International Congress Xperience. The building will be the center building for a new quarter that will be built during the European Culture Capital of 2015 epxerience. This building symbolizes connection between the new city and the old one. A terrace is on the roof of the congress center. From there you can enjoy vistas of the Belfra Tower, or the contrast of the new train station and the scenery of La Haine.
The Congress Center covers an area of 12 500 m2 and was designed by Daniel Libeskind. Except lecture halls, and conference rooms, there are offices, restaurants, and underground garages.
We could go on and on. Yet it is better to see that just to read/hear. We truly recommend you to visit this city.
Text: Oskár Mažgút
Photo: mons2015.eu, © applies to all photos
Did you ever hear about Luxembourg in Belgium? Today we will take you to this province in Belgium, which is located in the south of the Walloon Region. It was originally part of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, but by signing the London Agreement of 1839 it was annexed to the aforementioned Belgium.
One of the wealthiest countries in the world offers amazing nature. Today we visit Esch-sur-Alzette, mere 15 kilometers from the capital of Luxembourg. This town is also gateway to the area known as Redrock.
Last week we introduced you the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in general. Today we visit the capital of Luxembourg taking a look at its history, sights and some interesting facts.
This time around we visit a small country in western Europe – Luxembourg. Today, we make an introduction to this wealthy country. In some of the following parts, we visit its beautiful places.
Do you have some secret gourmet passion, some guilty pleasure you enjoy during Chirstmas markets? Do you have the feeling as if you have already tried everything sold on Christmas market in large European cities? So you think you know pretty much well what regional specialties they sell there? Well, maybe you are wrong. Let's join us and discover the unknown of the gourmet world. Do make experiments and try knew tastes and smells. Make yourselves ready for Christmas markets even if it is only September.
When one says Brussels everybody think of somethign different. Many think of the seat of the European Parliament first. However, this is not everything you can find there. Brussels is Belgian capital and also the largest metropolitan area in the country. By Brussels we mean entire territory with over milion people even though the city itself has just over 140 thousand residents. Can you tell the difference?
Among Beligum's gems are Brugge, a town in the northwest of the country. It is the most importing urban center of west Flanders. It has been rightfully called Venice of the north. Do you ask why? Well...
You will fall in love with Antwerp immediately. Why? Once you get off the train, the train station will amaze you. You will see its interior which can rightfully be called marvel of architecture.
Ghent is the most beautiful of all Belgian cities. It is situated in east Flanders, i.e. the north of the country. The atmosphere takes you back centuries into the past. The city's outskirts are not anything interesting. One could say it looks like any other city. Actually, it is quite the contrary.
I stand on a road leading to a freeway, I hold proudly a board saying Brussels in two languages and I smell the chocolate coming from a factory next to which I stand. I feel like a Charlie. My stomach tells me that it would like to eat . A chocolate is so far away from me as for the little boy from the book.
Today we continue in exploring our beautiful Europe. We will head to Belgium, again. This time we will visit its capital, Brussels. A tourist can admire amazing architecture there, interesting museums, or taste great cuisine and large variety of Belgian beers.
Today, on our travels abroad, we head to the port city of Antwerp, the second largest city in Belgium and also the second largest port in Europe. We will look closely at the history of the city where world-famous painter Peter Paul Rubens lived and worked and which became the center of world diamond industry and admirable architecture.
You have to take at least several days to see the capital of Belgium. In the last part, we have visited several of the most popular sights. Today, we head to the most popular sight in the city – enormous Atomium.
On the way “home” we pick up Zuzka. Friend of Ana that just had arrived from France. On the following day, the sun woke us up around 10 o’clock. Because there is not enough sun in our land, we enjoy it during the whole on a blanket about 200 meters from a place where we live. The best way how to learn about a foreign country. I highly recommend it!
Today we move together to the northwest Belgium, the historic and administrative center of the province of West Flanders - Bruges, which many travelers describe as the most romantic place in the world.
Belgium – a small country in western Europe. It is located on the shores of the North Sea. The country is famous for its delicious chocolate, diamonds, beautiful historic buildings, romantic ancient cities with zigzag streets full of life, picturesque villages with beautiful nooks, or remarkable water canals in the cities. Those are like a balsam to visitors’ ears.
Belgium is the unwritten heart of Europe. Well, the most important of EU's institutions reside th...
Come with us to Ghent for a while. It is the largest Flemish city with more than 250 thousand peo...
Brussels is the capital of Belgium as well as the main multicultural metropolis in the European U...
The second largest city in Belgium is Antwerp. It is located on the right bank of the Schelde riv...
Lets go with us to beautiful Belgian town of Brugge via our photogallery. In 2000, its historica...