Visiting Brussels, Belgium
Brussels is capital of Belgium as well as its largest metropolitan area, with a population of over 1.8 million as of 2008. Brussels is known as the home of many political organizations, specifically being the political headquarters of NATO as well as the European Union.
The revolution that gave Belgium independence occurred in Brussels in 1830. The city was largely redeveloped towards the end of the 19th century, and although few earlier buildings remain, there is still a strong sense of history in Brussels. The one area that still features historical buildings including some wonderful Gothic architecture is the Grand Place, the cobbled market square at the heart of the city. The majestic City Hall building along with an array of the guild houses is wonderfully lit up at night.
The Royal Palace of Brussels and the Laeken Castle, with its large greenhouses are also worth seeing, as is the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudala and the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. The stock exchange building, with its Classical front is also a marvelous piece of architecture.
Brussels is also home to the worlds most famous bronze statue -- the slightly risqué Manneken Pis. Cultural attractions are where Brussels truly shines, with over 100 museums. Begin with the Museum of Modern Art and the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, where you will see an extensive collection of painters, including of course the Flemish painters. If you're a fan of René Magritte, you will be happy to know that the Magritte Museum contains the largest collection of Magrittes in the world.
Of course you must partake in Brussels' famous culinary offerings, such as the Belgian waffle, Belgian chocolate, french fries of course and wash it all down with any of the numerous beers that Belgium is so accomplished at creating. And yes, brussels sprouts really did originate in Brussels.