Blankenberge

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This postcard comes from Bea. 🙂

Blankenberge is a town and a municipality in the Belgian province of West Flanders. The municipality comprises the town of Blankenberge proper and the settlement of Uitkerke. On 1 December 2011, Blankenberge had a total population of 19,322. Like most other Flemish coastal towns, a main characteristic of this one is that it is a national and to a certain extent international seaside resort.

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Snowy Brugge

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This beautiful card comes from Lara. 🙂 That’s my second Brugge card, the other one you could see here.

Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is located in the northwest of the country. The historic city centre is a prominent World Heritage Site of UNESCO. The city’s total population is 117,073 (1 January 2008), of which around 20,000 live in the city centre. Along with a few other canal-based northern cities, such as Amsterdam, it is sometimes referred to as “The Venice of the North”. Bruges has a significant economic importance thanks to its port. At one time, it was the “chief commercial city” of the world.

 

Gent

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Gent is a city and a municipality located in the Flemish region of Belgium. It is the capital and largest city of the East Flanders province. The city started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Lys and in the Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of northern Europe. Today it is a busy city with a port and a university.

On my postcard you could see the Gravensteen (in the middle) – a castle originating from the Middle Ages. The name means “castle of the count” in Dutch. The present castle was built in 1180 by count Philip of Alsace and was modeled after the crusaders castles that Philip of Alsace encountered while he participated in the second crusade. Before its construction, there stood a wooden castle on the same location, presumably built in the ninth century. The castle served as the seat of the Counts of Flanders until they abandoned it in the 14th century. The castle was then used as a courthouse, a prison and eventually decayed. Houses were built against the walls and even on the courtyard and the stones of the walls were used to erect other buildings. At one time it even served as a factory. At the end of the 19th century, the castle was scheduled to be demolished. In 1885 the city of Gent bought the castle and started a renovation project. The newly built houses were removed and the walls and dungeon were restored to their original condition.

This card came from Mieke. 🙂

Antwerpen

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This beauty from Antwerpen came from Ivaylo who lives there. 🙂

In the center: The Cathedral of Our Lady (Dutch: Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal)
The construction started in 1352. In the beginning, it was to be provided with two towers of equal height. In 1521, after nearly 170 years, the church was ready. The south tower reached only as far as the third string course.
It contains a number of significant works by the Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens, as well as paintings by artists such as Otto van Veen, Jacob de Backerand Marten de Vos.

The cathedral is on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites

Right, on the top:  

Het Steen is a medieval fortress in the old city centre of Antwerp, Belgium. Built after the Viking incursions in the early Middle Ages as the first stone fortress of Antwerp, Het Steen is Antwerp’s oldest building and used to be its oldest urban centre.
Previously known as Antwerpen Burcht (fortress), Het Steen gained its current name in around 1520, after significant rebuilding under Charles V. The rebuilding led to its being known first as “‘s Heeren Steen” (the King’s stone castle), and later simply as “Het Steen” (the stone castle). The Dutch word “steen” means “stone”, and is used for “fortress” or “palace”.

Right, in the middle:  Brabo Fountain

According to folklore, and as celebrated by the statue in front of the town hall, the city got its name from a legend involving a mythical giant called Antigoon who lived near the river Scheldt. He exacted a toll from those crossing the river, and for those who refused, he severed one of their hands and threw it into the river Scheldt. Eventually, the giant was slain by a young hero named Brabo, who cut off the giant’s own hand and flung it into the river.

2nd and 3rd picture on the left: Grote Markt.

Brussels x3

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The triumphal arch of the Parc du Cinquantenaire (“Park of the Fiftieth Anniversary”) in Brussels. The buildings in the complex  were commissioned for the 1880 National Exhibition commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Belgian independence. The present triumphal arch was erected in 1905, replacing a previous temporary version.

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Brussels Grand Place with the famous flower carpet. I have to admit that I’ve always thought that the said carpet is just a pretty garden on the square. Eventually I found out that this is not the case and that the flower carpet is set up every two years for only a few days. I felt like I’ve spent my whole life living in a lie. 😀 If anyone is interested – a few picture of how the magic happens – click, click, click. Though I’m still wondering how the wind doesn’t ruin the carpet, may be they glue the flowers or something… If anyone knows, I’d appreciate if you could tell me. 😀

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Basilique Nationale du Sacré-Cœur (The National Basilica of the Sacred Heart). Symbolically King Leopold II laid the first stone of the basilica in 1905 during the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of Belgian independence. The construction was halted by the two World Wars and finished only in 1969.

All cards were sent by my pen pal Nicolas, the best pen pal ever! :p Since I know you read may be I should mention that now I only need postcards with Manneken Pis (preferably with clothes… he is so cute dressed like Evzone 😀 ) and the Atomium and my Brussels collection will be complete… *cough* 😀

Gorgeous Brugge

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This card was brought to me by Joro  last summer. It is so far one of my favorite cards.

Because of its canals Brugge is often called “The Venice of the North”. There are even organized boat tours on the canals. 🙂

*Google says that there are other places called “The Venice of the North” – Saint Petersburg, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Hamburg and Manchester. Needless to say I want postcards with views of their canals too. 😀