Brussels

PUBLISHED: 11:26 09 March 2006 | UPDATED: 14:36 12 May 2010

Brussels

Brussels

FOR many people Brussels is known for its cuisine and rich chocolates. And these are certainly not in short supply, but there is more to Brussels, as it is seen as an historic and cutting-edge city in Europe. The central city is divided into two areas, th

FOR many people Brussels is known for its cuisine and rich chocolates. And these are certainly not in short supply, but there is more to Brussels, as it is seen as an historic and cutting-edge city in Europe. The central city is divided into two areas, the Lower and the Upper. The Lower is the medieval centre, built around the Royal Palace. In contrast, the Upper has wide boulevards, major museums and chic shopping areas. In 1831, Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was elected king of the new independent Belgium and each year on July 21 is the country's National Day with celebrations taking place throughout Brussels. Belgium's national symbol, the Manneken Pis, is a small statue on the Rue de l'Etuve, which was carved from stone in the mid-14th century. Although easily missed, it is a sight worth seeing. The heart of Brussels and place to start getting to know the city is the Grand Place (Grote Market). The historic market square with the impressive Gothic Town Hall as the centrepiece, is considered to be one of the most beautiful town squares in Europe. Brussels, too, has an international role as the headquarters of the European Commission, and to the Council of Ministers of the European Union. WHERE TO STAY Brussels has no end of accommodation: from hotels to backpacker hostels. FACT The word Brussels means brook or river dwelling.

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