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Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp
Antwerp and surrounding
Architecture,  Temples, Churches
Temples, Churches

The Cathedral of Our Lady is the largest and most impressive Gothic building in Antwerp and Belgium. The cathedral is the tallest church structure in Belgium: its only belfry, the north tower, reaches 123 meters. Besides, its total area of 8 thousand square meters is enough to accommodate up to 25 thousand people.

The citizens of Antwerp have been worshipping the Virgin Mary for more than a thousand years. She is the patroness of not only the cathedral but the entire city. Although the construction of a cathedral in her honor began on the site of an old Romanesque church as early as 1352, it is still considered incomplete. The choir was completed in 1415, the central nave in 1487, the transept in 1495, and the rest of the structure was finished only in 1521.

The main decoration of the cathedral is the magnificent Gothic north tower, built in 1518. It is the tallest structure in the area: its graceful silhouette is visible from anywhere in the city, making it an integral part of the Antwerp architectural landscape. The uniqueness of the tower is also confirmed because it became one of the 56 belfries in Belgium and Northern France listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The south tower was supposed to mirror the north one, but it has never been completed due to a lack of funding. Today, the height of the unfinished tower barely reaches half of the neighboring belfry, even though the latter doesn't have the initially intended height either.

Since the Cathedral of Our Lady was built for a very long time and was reconstructed several times, it has absorbed the features of various architectural styles and movements. Its facade combines the features of Gothic, Baroque, Rococo, Renaissance, and neo-Gothic, and the interior mixes elements ranging from Gothic to Art Nouveau.

Over the centuries, the interior of the cathedral suffered from fires, wars, looting, and even iconoclasm. Most of its current decoration was recreated and based on works brought from other European churches.

Address: Groenplaats 21

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Praskovia Ko

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