Antwerp is a bustling port city, and a historic center for local arts and crafts. Antwerp is also a hub for art lovers, diamond dealers and fashion moguls. Antwerp with its innate medieval charm attracts architectural aficionados from across the globe. There are numerous places of interest which are located in and around Antwerp. The Cathedral of Our Lady, Rubenshuis and Antwerp Zoo are some of the must visit places in this bustling Belgian city. To discover more about the unique things to do in Antwerp, read on.
Here Are 6 Unique Things To Do In Antwerp:
1. Visit The Cathedral Of Our Lady
The Cathedral of Our Lady, which dominates Antwerp’s skyline, is one the finest Gothic buildings in all of Europe. The construction of this Roman Catholic Cathedral commenced in 1352 and ended almost two centuries later in 1520. The church is an outstanding example of architectural extravagance. The interiors of this church, with its seven aisles and one hundred and twenty five pillars, is just as spectacular as the exterior. Visitors to this cathedral should not miss the exquisite stained glass windows, the beautiful art work and the stunning statues.
2. Tour The Rubenshuis
Rubenshuis or Rubens House was the former home and studio of Peter Paul Rubens, a brilliant and versatile painter, who is known for his baroque painting style. This grand mansion was built in the early part of the 17th century (1611). However, over the centuries the house fell into total disrepair.
The mansion which was acquired by the city of Antwerp in 1937 was extensively and lovingly resorted.
Today, the Rubenshuis with its lovely chequered floors, grand semi- circular gallery and beautiful portico is home to 14 Rubens canvases. Besides Peter Paul Rubens artwork, visitors to Rubenshuis can also enjoy numerous painting which was done by his contemporaries and peers. A visit to Rubenshuis is incomplete without touring the stunning garden – which is a haven for peace and tranquility.
3. Explore The Antwerp Zoo
The Antwerp Zoo which was inaugurated in 1843 is one of the oldest zoos in the world. This centrally located zoo is spread over an area of 25 acres. The main aim of the Antwerp zoo, which is managed by the Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp, is to encourage wildlife preservation. The zoo is home to over 600 species of mammals, reptiles, birds and fish. Some of the top exhibits at this zoo include koalas, white rhinos, Baringo Giraffes, African buffaloes, Siberian tigers and Pere David’s deer (to name a few).
4. Visit the Plantin Moretus Museum
The Plantin Moretus Museum is one of the finest museums in the city of Antwerp. This printing and publishing house, which has the unique distinction of being the premier industrial printing works in history, was founded by Christoffel Plantijin in 1555. Later on the printing unit was taken care of by the Moretus family for nearly 300 years. Visitors to this museum can examine the world’s first printing press. Numerous objet d’art and typographic materials are also displayed at this museum.
5. Tour The Antwerp Central Station
One of the most impressive railway stations in the world, the Antwerp Central Station is visited by thousands of tourists every single day, to absorb its stunning architecture. This architectural vision which has been dubbed the “Railway Cathedral” for its extraordinary beauty was built between 1895 and 1905. The interiors of this railway station which can match any grand palace have been decorated with different kinds of stone and marble. The Antwerp Central Station which has undergone major renovation work in recent years is a dynamic blend of old and the new.
6. Enjoy a Stroll Across Grote Market
The Grote Markt or Town Square is a historic square which located in the heart of Antwerp. This stunning square was built in the 16th century. Grote Markt is bordered by several historic buildings. The beautiful statue of ‘Brabo’, the mythical slayer of giants, occupies a prominent position in the square.