Mechelen, Belgium

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Mechelen lies halfway between Brussels and Antwerp in the Flanders province of Belgium. A city of historical significance, Mechelen was a prosperous trading center in the early Middle Ages. In the 16th century it gained a status of the Netherlands capital and was proclaimed the seat of Belgium’s Catholic archbishop. Although the city has gone through some dramatic events (the fire of 1572 and sack by the Spanish), it managed to recover and evolve.

Modern Mechelen is a calm town with a historical ambiance and beautiful architecture. The tower of St Rumbold’s Cathedral, the biggest city’s church, houses authentic carillon, a common Flanders musical instrument that consists of multiple bells. Mechelen is a home for the world’s first international carillon school.

The architectural style of Mechelen has been influenced by its reputation of a religious city. Beautiful churches and beguinages fill the town and tell the story of the past. Some of them were included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Mechelen has been renowned for the produce of tapestry since the Middle Ages. A prestigious collection of these masterpieces is presented in De Wit Royal Manufacturers, a museum and a center for restoring tapestries.

Wood carving, sculpturing and furniture are the other signature fine crafts of the city. Some well-preserved exemplars can still be found in the historical buildings of the town.

Mechelen is a small town and far less crowded than the neighboring Ghent, Antwerp and Bruges, but it offers a great number of worthy attractions. The popularity of the city is growing from year to year.