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Belgia essentials


Tournai Cathedral (UNESCO)

Location: Tournai, Hainaut province

The Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Tournai, built in the first half of the 12th century, offers a romantic tour to Romanesque and Gothic architecture. Its sculptures in a transept topped by five towers and capitals and the choir, rebuilt in 13th century, are purest European Gothic masterpieces. No wonder that the cathedral is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites and one of the notable landmarks of the idyllic Hainaut.

Kuva: (vincent desjardins)

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Saint Rumbold’s Cathedral

Location: Onder-Den-Toren 12, Mechelen

This cathedral is very peculiar and its 100 meter and 500 steps long belfry gives a remarkable view over a Flamish countryside as well to skylines of Antwerp and Brussels. Building of cathedral’s medieval Gothic tower was begun in 1452, but it was never completed properly, a decorative steeple of it was supposed to have added another 60 m or so. City folk of Mechelen built the tower structurally separate from the similarly named church. Overall, this religious and Gothic building is remarkable example of architecture and its tower is included on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list.

Kuva: Guillaume Baviere


Bouillon Castle

Location: Esplanade Godefroid 1, Bouillon

This spectacular old castle lies in city of Bouillon, beautiful valley of Semois river crossing the Ardennes. First mention of Bouillon Castle in annals dates back to 988,  but it is centuries older. It belonged to ancient Dukes of Ardennes and was important center of local government. Among the best preserved feudal vestiges of Belgium, it is one of most remarkable historical sites in Ardennes area and valley of Semois.



Location: Atomiumsquare, Brussels

This atom-shaped building in center of Brussels contains eight levels spread over five spheres and its all levels are for art exhibitions. Atomium was built for the World Fair of Brussels 1958 and two of its levels is dedicated for permanent exhibition of Expo58, while other levels are for changing exhibition of design, society and architecture. Upper sphere of 92 meters height offers a majestic 360° view over city.  When the sky is clear, even the skyline of Antwerp is visible. Panoramic restaurant in upper sphere offers gourmet menu and its open till 11 PM.

Charleroi PhotoMuseum

Charleroi Museum of Photography

Location: Place des Essarts, Avenue Paul Pastur 11, Charleroi

The Museum of Photography in Charleroi is the largest photography museum in Europe and as an experience is way more than a place for exhibitions. Spreaded over a 6000m² space, with a collection of 80,000 photographs, the museum offers a full experience of photographic art. Temporary exhibitions are organized on a regular basis, with around 3 exhibitions every 4 months, so visitors can return to the museum often and feel something new each time. The museum also includes a photographic library open to public with 13,000 titles and 4,000 files, a café and a 85 acre museum park outside. The museum tour is free for children under the age of 12 and it is suitable as an all-family sight.



Location: West Flanders. Train connections from Brussels,  Antwerp and Lille.

Beautiful city of Bruges lies in Flemish Region of Belgium and it is the capital of West Flanders. With total population of 117,000 residents, it is small and charming Flemish center.

Its historic center has been an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000 and city’s medieval architecture is mostly intact. Notable sights of this Flemish gem are e.g. 13th-century belfry, The Groeningemuseum with its collection of medieval and early modern art, Neogothic Provincial Court and the medieval-style bar De Garre.



Location: East Flanders. Train connections from Brussels and Zaventem Airport.

Populated by approx. 250,000 people, Ghent is an attractive university town and center of Eastern Flamish Region. One of the less-known sites of Belgium,  it can surprise a visitor with its tranquillity and beauty. Its annually held, 10-days music and theatre festival Gentse Feesten is famous and attracts millions visitors. Notable sites are the St Bavo’s Cathedral with its belfry as a vantage point, the medieval Gravensteen castle and The Museum of Fine Arts focusing on Flemish art.


Location: Wapper 9-11, Antwerp

This former home and studio of Flemish Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens serves now as a museum with restored interior. It houses notable collection of artworks by Rubens and his contemporaries. Also a centre dedicated to the study of Rubens, The Rubeniamum, lies on the building.  A must-see for an art enthusiast.


Atlantic Wall Open Air Museum

Location: Ostend. Train connections from Liege,  Brussels and Antwerp

This open-air museum consists well preserved fortifications dating back to the First and Second World War. Two miles of trench line, over 60 bunkers and military equipment in permanent exhibitions give an indelible experience to a military aficionado. Majority of the preserved bunkers and trenches at the site date back to the construction of the Atlantic Wall during the German occupation of Belgium during the Second World War. Sight dated during First World War is the Aachen Batter, where is a display for German uniforms and equipment of this era.

Fort Eben-Emael

Fort Eben-Emael

Location: Between Liège and Maastricht

This inactive military structure constructed between 1932-1935 is located on a large hill along the Albert Canal, about 20 kilometres northeast of Liège and about 10 kilometres south of Maastricht. As a main fortificaton of Belgian defence line, it was easily neutralized by 56 soldiers German airborne unit on 10 May 1940 during the Battle of Belgium.

Its heavy main weapons were divided between turrets and cassemates, consisting of 60mm, 75mm and 120mm guns. Underground galleries extend over 4 kilometres beneath the hill, connecting the combat blocks and serving the underground barracks, power plant, ammunition magazines and other space.  Open to public, fort is de jure property of the Belgian army but it is administrated by the Association Fort Eben-Emael.

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