According to ethnicityology.com, Brussels is not only the center of the political and cultural life of the country, but of the entire European Community. The old and most interesting part of the city for tourists was called the “Pentagon”, which was given to it by the locals because it is surrounded by boulevards, on the site of which for a long time there were defensive structures that protected the old city. As a rule, all city tours start from the largest city square – Grand Place, which houses the city hall with its famous weather vane of the 15th century. In this part of the city lies a whole block with old buildings, each of which has its own unique name. Not far from the Grand Place is the hallmark of the city – the Manneken Pis fountain, as well as the grandiose building “Palace of Nations” in which Parliament is currently sitting. For fans of wandering through museums, Museum Square, surrounded on all sides by museums, will be a real find. The well-known “Failure” is also located here, which is an illuminated well in which some of the exhibits of the Museum of Modern Art are exhibited. If we talk about museums, then the most attention should be paid to the Museum of Fine Arts, which exhibits numerous masterpieces of art, from Rubens to Magritte. The city of Antwerp is the main city of the Belgian province of Antwerp, as well as the second largest port in Europe. In addition to its fame as a major European port, this city takes pride of place as the world’s largest center for diamond cutting. In addition to all this, the city has a significant part of the country’s attractions. While here, you should definitely visit the Costume Jewelry Museum, which is undoubtedly the richest and most interesting museum in Antwerp. The Meir district is also rich in interesting places, on which the main trading establishments of the city are concentrated. The most beautiful building of Antwerp also rises here – the Royal Palace, built in the 18th century, as well as the very first skyscraper in Belgium – the Borenbond Tower. Interesting places can be found in the northern part of the old city, such as St. Paul’s Church, and the southern quarter is known for its beautiful squares and embankments, where the city’s cultural life is constantly in full swing. A large number of the most beautiful buildings in Belgium are concentrated in the city of Ghent, which is the capital of East Flanders. The most important historical buildings lie mainly in the city center, the main part of the city museums is concentrated in the south, and the western part of the city is an industrial and working area. You can start your journey around the city from its heart – the reservoir, from which Veldstraat begins. Here is one of the most famous objects of the city – St. Michael’s Bridge, stretching across the Fox Canal. A unique picture will open before you in the oldest quarter of Ghent – Patershol, which was built up with houses back in the 15-18 centuries, now these beautiful houses house restaurants, antique and souvenir shops, etc. One of the most interesting places for those who love history, there will be the famous Waterloo, where the battle between the army of Napoleon and Wellington took place. Of course, everything in this city is dedicated to this event. Worth visiting Napoleon’s Headquarters, Wellington Museum, Binche.
National cuisine of Belgium
Many Belgian dishes consist of a large number of components, some of which were taken from German and French cuisine. In addition, to this day, the influence of medieval cooking is noticeable, a lot of mustard, herbs, etc. are used. The main local snacks are tomato and shrimp salad with mayonnaise, shrimp and parmesan croquettes, Flemish asparagus, cheese sandwiches, etc. It is obvious that Belgian cuisine uses a significant amount of seafood and cheese. The first dish here, as a rule, is fish soup or oysters in celery broth. In almost any restaurant you can order a fried steak with various sauces, in addition to the steak, you can ask for golden potato slices (“frites”). The favorite alcoholic drink of any Belgian is, of course, beer. To date, Belgium has over 1,000 brands of beer, with more added every day. Among the many types of beer, you can find such unusual options as “Framboise” – beer with the addition of cherry or raspberry juice.
Belgium is one of the countries with a developed transport infrastructure. Although the size of the country is not too large, the number of flights between Belgian cities is quite large. Almost all cities have trams and buses at their disposal, and Brussels also has three metro lines. For frequent trips around the city, it is best to buy travel cards for several days. In any part of the city you can always find a taxi, you can also call a car by phone.
Currency exchange in Belgium
As of October 2011, the national currency rate is 1 USD = 0.72 EUR. The official currency is the euro. Banks in Belgium are open from Monday to Friday from 09.00 to 17.00, as well as once a week until 18.00, and each bank can choose such a day. Exchange offices work longer, as a rule, until 22.00. The most favorable exchange rate is observed in banks and post offices. Credit card payments are widespread, so almost anywhere in the country you can easily pay with a credit card.