Mechelen, the religious capital of Belgium (because of the seat of the Cardinal), was build near the river Dijle and the Leuven canal. The town has an interesting history, dating back to the dark ages, which has left many architectural masterpieces to admire. The first train on the European continent drove between Brussels and Mechelen, in 1835.
Today, the city offers many shopping facilities, as well as museums and artwork. The Grand Place is one of the most beautiful in Belgium, with many open space and terraces. Apart from that Mechelen has the ambition of being the most child-friendly city of Flanders, establishing many facilities and activities for children. (e.g. Technopolis and the Toy Museum)
Mechelen is a Dutch-speaking city in the province of Antwerp, Flanders. The municipality comprises the city of Mechelen proper, some quarters at its outskirts, the hamlets of Nekkerspoel (adjacent) and Battel (a few kilometers away), as well as the villages of Walem, Heffen, Leest, Hombeek, and Muizen. The Dijle flows through the city, hence the term 'Dijlestad' (Dijle City).
Mechelen lies on the major urban & industrial axis Brussels-Antwerp, about 25 km from each city.
Places of interest are:
*St. Rumbold's Cathedral) with its dominating tower (UNESCO World Heritage)
* the Church of St. John the Evangelist and the church of Our Lady across the river Dijle
* the domed baroque Basilica of Our Lady of Hanswyck by native architect Lucas Faydherbe, of whom some sculptures can also be found in the cathedral - he was a pupil and leading assistant of Rubens.
* The Brusselpoort, last remaining of the city's twelve gates
* the Schepenhuis, oldest stone-built city hall in Flanders and historical seat of the Great Council or Supreme Court,
* the gothic-renaissance Hof van Busleyden where Jeroen alias Hiëronymus van Busleyden received Erasmus, Thomas More, and the later Pope Adrian VI. These three recently restored buildings together now house the City Museum.
* The Palace of Margaret of York; the oldest renaissance building north of the Alps. In one of these palaces, Anne Boleyn was educated for some time as well.
* The Lakenhal (hall for merchants of woollen cloth) and the 14th century Belfry (UNESCO World Heritage) beside it.
* For the shopaholics : shoppingstreet Ijzerenleen
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