In Mechelen now live less than 100 thousand inhabitants, but in the Middle Ages it was one of the largest cities in Flanders.
The cathedral of Mechelen is dedicated to the Irish missionary Rumbold, who was tortured in the vicinities of Mechelen in the 6th or 7th cc.
A bell tower generally exists as if separately. Initially, it was expected that it would be almost twice as high, but the lack of funds prevented the implementation of the grandiose plan.
The main square and the St. Rumbold's Cathedral
Grand Place and Sint-Romboutskathedraal (XIII-XVIIc.)
St. Rumbold's Cathedral
St. Rumbold's Cathedral
Sint-Romboutskathedraal (XIII-XVII c.)
The oldest building in the city is the inconspicuous chapel of St. Spirit, located next to the cathedral. It is assumed that, unlike the cathedral, it served the poor.
Chapel of St. Spirit
Heilige Geestkapel (XIII c.)
The Church of Our Lady of Dale (Dale - a river flowing through Mechelen) was built over three centuries, and was twice destroyed in the 20th century - in two World Wars.
Church of Our Lady of Dale
Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-over-de-Dijlekerk (XIV-XVII c.)
In Mechelen there is another church of Our Lady - in Hanswijk (before it was a suburb). The church was built in memory of the miracle performed by the statue of the Mother of God at this place - the removal of the ship from the shallows (10th century). The church that exists now, of course, has nothing to do with this. Even the statue of Our Lady that is stored in it is different, made instead of the missing one.
Church of Our Lady in Hanswijk
Onze-Lieve-Vrouw van Hanswijk (XVII c.)
Church of St. John is dedicated to both John the Baptist and John the Theologian (these are different people :). Why it happened, you can only guess. In the XIII century on this place was the chapel of John the Baptist, in the 16th century it was extended to the church (apparently, John the Theologian?). During the Reformation, the church was turned into ruins and then rebuilt. Restoration of the interior is still going on, so the pictures of the famous Flemish artists, there are stored, you will not see.
Church of St. John
Sint-Jan-de-Doper en Sint-Jan-de-Evangelist kerk (XIV-XVII c.)
The Church of Saints Peter and Paul is a typical Jesuit building. Now this is the usual parish church, transferred to the city after the abolition of the Order.
Church of Saints Peter and Paul
The Brussels Gate is the only thing left from the city walls of Mechelen, demolished in the 19th century. In the XV century the gate was built up.
Brusselpoort (XIII-XVII c.)
Belfry in Mechelen is not just a tower. When construction began (in the 13th century), it was assumed that the Belfry would be part of the building of the cloth rows, but soon, the cloth trade fell into decay and the funds ended. In the XVI century limited to the fact that the unfinished tower was put on the roof.
The Town Hall, which was begun to be erected a little later, stood unfinished until the beginning of the 20th century, also because of problems with money.
Town Hall and Belfry
Stadhuis (XVI-XX c.) and Beffroi (XIV-XVI c.)
At an earlier time, the function of the Town Hall was performed by the House of Elders - the place where these elders gathered, and then the city parliament.
House of Elders
Schepenhuis (XIII-XIV c.)
In Mechelen, as in many other Belgian cities, there is a Begijnhof (for more details on Begins and Begijnhofs in the article Ghent). During the Reformation, it was completely destroyed and restored in the XVII century.
Groot Begijnhof (XVII c.)
Church of the Begijnhof of St. Alexey and Catherine
Begijnhofkerk (XVII c.)
Mechelen boasts one of the oldest breweries in Belgium. The officially recorded release of the first portion of beer happened in 1386.
Brouwerij Het Anker (XIV c.)
In the troubled times of the Reformation and its predecessors, various monasteries built shelters in fortified cities. In these shelters high-ranking canons (especially the abbots themselves) stopped while traveling through the diocese. In Mechelen it was all the more important that here was the residence of the bishop.
Asylum of the Abbey of Tongerlo
Refuge van Abdij Tongerlo (XV-XVI c.)
Asylum of the abbey of Saint-Truiden
Refuge van Abdij Sint-Truiden (XVI-XVII c.)
The Busleyden's House is an example of a Renaissance palace. Buslaiden is a very well-known man, a friend of Thomas More and Erasmus of Rotterdam.
Hof van Busleyden (XVIc.)
Margaret of York, who lived in Mechelen - the wife of the last Duke of Burgundy (and the Count of Flanders), Charles the Bold. They had no children, and, after the death of her husband, Margarita became the tutelary stepdaughter Maria, the only heiress of Karl. She betrayed Maria in marriage to Emperor Maximilian I, which subsequently led both Burgundy and Flanders to the power of the Habsburgs.
In Mechelen Margarita settled after the death of Charles the Bold (1477), first with Maria of Burgundy (who died after falling from a horse, at the age of 25, in 1482), then with her children, the eldest of whom later became the King of Spain, Philip I.
Margaret of York Palace
Paleis van Margareta van York (XVc.)
On the other side of the street is the palace of another Margarita - Austrian, the daughter of the untimely dead Mary. Margarita settled here in 1507, as she was a Dutch Stadtholder under an underage nephew. This child is the son of Margaret's brother King of Castile Phillip I, then became Emperor Charles V. By the way, Karl, the first time after coming of age, opposed the power of his aunt, then recognized her usefulness and Margarita remained the ruler of the Netherlands until the end of her life (1530).
Then the palace, together with the title of the Stadtholder of the Netherlands, moved to her niece Maria, the daughter of Philip I.
Palace of Margarita of Austria
Paleis van Margareta van Oostenrijk (XVIc.)
Palace of Margarita of Austria
Paleis van Margareta van Oostenrijk (XVI c.)
It is very convenient that in Mechelen on all old buildings there are plaques with a description. Even if the house historically is not particularly noteworthy, but built long ago, it necessarily hangs a sign like "Typical apartment house of the XVI century."