Friday 20 April 2012: Beautifully lit Brussels Town Hall, Grand Place
The Brussels City Hall was built in the Grand Place between 1401 and 1455. On the top of the spire there is a 3 metre status of Saint Michael slaying the dragon.
This was the period of the glory of the House of Burgundy and the rule of Philip II the Good as the Duke of Brabant. For a brief period in the mid 15th Century it looked as if an independent "middle kingdom" from the Netherlands to the Swiss border might be viable. Defeated by the Swiss and the resurgent monarchy it was not to be.
Opposite this symbol of civic power and pride, across the square the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, ruling as Charles II Duke of Brabant, built the King's House from 1504 to 1536.
In 1695 the French Army under the Duc de Villeroi bombarded the city, using the spire as the target and flattened the Grand Place leaving only the stone shell of the Town Hall. Pictures from the time show the square looking as if it had been bombed in the Second World War. The square was rebuilt in the next four years by the City's guilds.