Antwerp (i//, Dutch: Antwerpen [ˈɑntʋɛrpə(n)] ( ), French: Anvers [ɑ̃ˈvɛʁ(s)], Spanish: Amberes) is a city and municipality in Belgium and the capital of the Antwerp province of Belgium. With a population of 510,610, it is by far the most populous city in Belgium. The capital region of Brussels, whose metropolitan area comprises the city itself plus 18 independent communal entities, counts over 1,190,769 inhabitants, but these communities are counted separately by the Belgian Statistics Office. The Antwerp metropolitan area is currently the second largest in Belgium. Antwerp is located on the river Scheldt, which is linked to the North Sea by the Westerscheldeestuary. The Port of Antwerp is one of the biggest ports in the world, ranking third in Europe and within the top 20 globally. Antwerp is classified as a Global City.
Antwerp has long been an important city in the Low Countries, both economically and culturally, especially before the Spanish Fury (1576) in the period of the Dutch Revolt. The inhabitants of Antwerp are locally nicknamed Sinjoren, after the Spanish honorific señor or Frenchseigneur, "lord". It refers to the leading Spanish noblemen who ruled the city during the 17th century.
Buildings, landmarks and museums
Antwerp City Hall at the Grote Markt(Main Square).
16th-century Guildhouses at theGrote Markt.
The Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal(Cathedral of our Lady), here seen from the Groenplaats, is the highest cathedral in the Low Countries and home to several triptychs by Baroque painter Rubens. It remains the tallest building in the city.
Statue of Brabo and the giant's hand
In the 16th century, Antwerp was noted for the wealth of its citizens ("Antwerpia nummis"); the houses of these wealthy merchants and manufacturers have been preserved throughout the city. However fire has destroyed several old buildings, such as the house of the Hanseatic League on the northern quays in 1891. The city also suffered considerable war damage by V-bombs, and in recent years other noteworthy buildings were demolished for new developments.
- Antwerp Zoo was founded in 1843, and is home to more than 6,000 animals (about 769 species). One of the oldest zoos in the world, it is renowned for its high level of research and conservation.
- Central Station is a railway station designed by Louis Delacenserie that was completed in 1905. It has two monumental neo-baroque façades, a large metal and glass dome (60m/197 ft) and a gilt and marble interior..
- Cathedral of Our Lady. This church was begun in the 14th century and finished in 1518. The church has four works by Rubens, viz. "The Descent from the Cross", "The Elevation of the Cross", "The Resurrection of Christ" and "The Assumption"
- St. James' Church, is more ornate than the cathedral. It contains the tomb of Rubens
- The Church of St. Paul has a beautiful baroque interior. It is a few hundred yards north of the Grote Markt..
- Museum Vleeshuis (Butchers' Hall) is a fine Gothic brick-built building sited a short distance to the North-West of the Grote Markt. Originally used as a home for the Butchers Guild these days it holds a musical instrument collection (including some original Ruckers harpsichords) and is home to occasional concerts.
- Plantin-Moretus Museum preserves the house of the printer Christoffel Plantijn and his successor Jan Moretus
- The Saint-Boniface Church is an Anglican church and headseat of the archdeanery North-West Europe.
- Boerentoren (Farmers' Tower) or KBC Tower, a 26-storey building built in 1932, is the oldest skyscraper in Europe
- Royal Museum of Fine Arts, close to the southern quays, has a collection of old masters (Rubens, Van Dyck, Titian) and the leading Dutch masters.
- Rubenshuis is the former home and studio of Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640) in Antwerp. It is now a museum.
- Exchange or Bourse. The current building was built in 1872.
- Law Courts, designed by the Richard Rogers Partnership, Arup and VK Studio, and opened by King Albert in April 2006. This building is the antithesis of the heavy, dark court building designed by Joseph Poelaert that dominates the skyline of Brussels. The courtrooms sit on top of six fingers that radiate from an airy central hall, and are surmounted by spires which provide north light and resemble oast houses or the sails ofbarges on the nearby River Scheldt. It is built on the site of the old Zuid ("South") station, at the end of a magnificent 1.5 kilometres (1 mile) perspective at the southern end of Amerikalei. The road neatly disappears into an underpass under oval Bolivarplaats to join the motorway ring. This leaves peaceful surface access by foot, bicycle or tram (route 12). The building's highest 'sail' is 51 m (167.32 ft) high, has a floor area of 77,000 m2 (828,821.10 sq ft), and cost €130 million.
- Zurenborg, a late 19th century belle époque neighbourhood on the border of Antwerp and Berchem with many art nouveau architectural elements. The area counts as one of the most original belle époque urban expansion areas in Europe. Though the houses in the neighbourhood are listed as national heritage, they suffer severely from vibration and pollution caused by heavy city bus traffic through its streets, especially through the famous Cogels Osylei.
- Museum aan de Stroom The MAS is 60 metres high, and was designed by Neutelings Riedijk Architects. The façade is made of Indian red sandstone and curved glass panel construction. The MAS houses 470,000 objects, most of which are kept in storage.
Het Steen (literally: 'The Stone').
Although Antwerp was formerly a fortified city, hardly anything remains of the former enceinte, only some remains of the city wall can be seen near the Vleeshuis museum at the corner of Bloedberg and Burchtgracht . A replica of a (castle) named Steen has been partly rebuild near the Scheldt-quais in the 19th century. Antwerp's development as a fortified city is documented between the 10th and the 20th century. The fortifications were developed in different phases:
- 10th century : fortification of the wharf with a wall and a ditch
- 12th and 13th century : canals ( so called "vlieten" and "ruien") were made
- 16th century : Spanish fortifications
- 19th century : double ring of Brialmont forts around the city, dismantling of the Spanish fortifications
- 20th century : 1960 dismantling of the inner ring of forts, decommissioning of the outer ring of forts
SOURCE : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antwerp