The town hall, decorated with “lace” and 236 statues, which is considered the most beautiful in the world
Everyone who has seen this building at least once admits that it is something grandiose. “You look at it in one breath”, “Your jaw just hangs down”, “Full enthusiasm” – this is how the tourists from different countries comment on what they see. The stone-laced Leuven Town Hall in Belgium is considered the most beautiful in Europe, and some connoisseurs of architecture even call it the most magnificent city hall in the world.
She eclipsed the Brussels “analog”
If you get to the university center Leuven, located east of the capital of Belgium, it will be easy to find the town hall (stadhuis) – this is the most famous landmark of the city. She stands in front of the Cathedral of St. Peter and still rivets attention from afar.
Well, when you approach this architectural masterpiece, in order to examine it in detail, your eyes run and you just don’t know where to start.
The building in the style of the late (Brabant) Gothic, resembling a wet sand castle, is so majestically and so abundantly covered with “lace” (especially corner towers) that it is very difficult to completely cover it with the eyes or lens of a camera. But before viewing, of course, does not prevent to learn its history.
Leuven Town Hall – the building is very old: its construction began in 1439. It is believed that something like the famous Brussels Town Hall was originally conceived, but as a result, the Leuven “analog”, although it does not have a large central tower, turned out so unusual and pompous that it surpassed the Brussels building.
The author of the project was the architect Sulpicius van Vorst, but, unfortunately, he died at the initial stage of work. The master baton was accepted by master Jan Kelderman II, and then, after his death in 1445, Matthews de Layens continued the grandiose work. The building was erected, starting from the east side, constantly adding something new to the initial project, and the work lasted until 1469. And in the period from 1841 to 1892. Town Hall has undergone a large-scale restoration.
At the end of the century before last, numerous statues appeared on the facade, each of which is a true masterpiece. In total, you can count about 240 figures!
There is something to see
Two rows of statues located on the ground floor level are artists, scholars, and other famous personalities, one way or another connected with the history of Leuven. There are also figures of people symbolizing “municipal freedoms” and patrons of church parishes. On the second floor, you can see the Count Leuven and the Dukes of Brabant incarnated in stone.
The towers are decorated with biblical characters, as well as various scenes from the Bible and stories on the theme of “sin and punishment.” Since judges sat in the Town Hall, these sculptural compositions had to bear an admonishing and instructive function – not only for the people, but also for the servants of Themis.
In the foreground you can see the elegant entrance doors, decorated on top with the figures of the Virgin and Child and honored in the city of St. Peter.
If you look up, then, in addition to the amazing side and gable turrets, you can see another interesting architectural solution – several tiers of dormer windows on a steep roof.
Numerous stone figures and sculptural compositions, decorative elements, window-arches, an abundance of bright natural flowers on the window sills, flags – all this gives the “lace” building an incredibly festive look.