It is called the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula (Cathédrale Saint-Michel et Sainte-Gudule). Brussels needed two patron saints to protect the city from all its historical events. It is one of the most emblematic buildings in Gothic style in Belgium.
THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE BRUSSELS CATHEDRAL
This Brabant Gothic building was not completed until the mid-fifteenth century. Inside, you will see a good example of the Counter-Reformation. The mix of styles between architecture and furniture comes from the struggles between Protestants and Catholics in the 16th century.
It was in 1047 when the Count of Louvain, Lambert II,had the relics of Saint Gudula transferredfrom the Saint Gorik church in downtown Brussels to the new church at the Treurenberg hill. At that time the Church started to gradually move from the dark, close Romanesque architectural style to the spacious, bright Gothic style. The towers and the current floors were added to the building.
The front façade features two 65-metre symmetrical towers.
The cathedral was restored in the late 80s.
The visit to the Gothic cathedral of Brussels is a must-see on your trip to Brussels. One of the main visits in the centre of the European capital.
THE INTERIOR OF THE CATHEDRAL
The interior of the cathedral is very luxurious and opulent, the opposite of what we might expect from the sober Gothic churches. The decor is all Baroque and Rococo.The difference between the decor and the architectural style is due to the works carried out by the Church after the end of the struggles between Protestants and Catholics. The objective of this luxury and splendour was to transmit the idea that the only true religion was the Catholicism.
An outstanding feature of the inside is the pulpit from the mid-seventeenth century, made in oak, depicting Adam and Eve’s expulsion from Paradise. It is located in the middle of the central nave, at the right hand side. From the same period date the side chapels and confessionals.
The Renaissance stained glass windows of the cathedral are very well known for their value. The best known windowsrepresent the Judgement Day and the coronation of Charles V.
There is also a representation of all the Apostles, from the 17th century, in the columns.
The crypt, also known as the “treasure", is the best known part of the cathedral. This is the place where lie the Archdukes Albert and Isabella.
ODDITIES ABOUT THE CATHEDRAL
This is the cathedral where Charles V was crowned. We can see a portrait of Charles I, by Michel Coxcie. He was a painter who got very well known because he worked for the Emperor and his son Philip II. In Spain, there are works by the same painter in El Escorial.
The church did not owned the Brussels cathedral until 1962.
In this cathedral took place the weddings of the kings of Belgium.
Discover the Cathedral with the Free Tour in Brussels.
Monday to Friday: 7:00 to 18:00.
Saturdays: from 8:30 to 18:00. (Visits until 15:30 hours).
Sundays: 8:30 to 18:00. (Visits until 14:00).
Cathedral Treasury: 1 €.
Crypt: € 2.50.
Parvis Sainte-Gudule, Brussels
HOW TO GET TO THE BRUSSELS CATHEDRAL
- Metro: Gare Centrale and Parc, lines 1 and 5.
- Tram: Parc, lines 92 and 94.
- Bus Parc, lines 29, 63, 65 and 66.
SOME PLACES NEAR THE CATHEDRAL
- Grand Place (390 m)
- Saint Hubert Galleries (319 m)
- Brussels Cartoon Museum (358 m)
- Manneken Pis (490 m)
- Brussels Park (459 m)
- Museum of the City of Brussels (483 m)