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Tourism in Leuven - The gothic town hall

Hello folks, 

As you may know, I live in Leuven, an adorable Belgian town. Since I'm becoming more active working as a travel blogger, why not to introduce you to some of the best attractions of my own city? With the support of Visit Leuven I will create a series of posts and videos about the main attractions of the municipality, starting today with the old town hall.

The gothic town hall is a very special place for Christian and me, as it is the place where we got married on a lovely sunny day in September. Since then I've been curious and looking forward to explore the whole building and to share my experiences with you. The tourism department offers daily guided tours every day at 3 pm, mainly in Dutch, French and English, but also in German or Spanish for larger groups. Before booking your visit, I recommend you to e-mail them to ask in which language the visit will be conducted, as it can vary according to the day. Furthermore, you can purchase the ILUVLeuven Ticket beforehand online, which will give you access not only to the town hall, but also to the University library & tower, M-Museum Leuven and the M-Treasury of Saint Peter for only 16€. 

We made a visit to the old town last Sunday, and we were very lucky, as the weather is starting to get warmer, not much rain heading our way.  The tour started at Naamsestraat 3 and then we moved to the magnificent front of the building. The city hall construction started in 1439 and it passed by several modifications since them. The impressive 236 statues of public figures we can see nowadays were just added around 1850 and the staircase dates back to 1709. The statues we see are also not the original ones, which are saved in the attic. Can you imagine how it looked like before those modifications? One of the highlights was to take time to observe the little-carved bases of the statues niches representing scenes from the Bible about sin and punishment, as the story of Adam and Eve. Those figures are from the original project and it served as a warning, to keep the order and good behaviour of the medieval population of Leuven. I love to learn about history and society through architecture! 

After our external tour, we entered the foyer, a special room who serves nowadays as a reception for events. In the foyer we can see many flags, the most interesting ones are from the 7 noble families of Leuven, which originated from the seven daughters of a 9th-century knight named Batijn. The next step was to visit the three salons, which are the oldest part of the building. Their interior design of the rooms dates from the XIV century and it's home to important paintings and panels, as the Resurrection of Christ from Otto Van Veen, teacher of Rubens. It was a bit sad to see that the panel of Van Veen was damaged by poorly made restorations done during the last centuries. Another highlight was the gothic hall on the second floor. Part of the beam blocks are original and carved to show the life of Maria and Christ. It's an amazing working space for our town hall councillors to work, isn't it?  It keeps being used nowadays. Next to this hall, we entered another small one, which keeps its original star-shaped wooden vault. The last room we visited is the mayor's office, which served as a meeting room for the Saint Peter's Lords of the Seven Noble Families, previously mentioned. My words aren't enough to share with you all the details and stories, you should definitely visit and experience it by yourself. If you love history as much as I do, I'm sure you will like the tour. 

After our visit we had a coffee on the terrace of the Oude Market, the self-proclaimed longest open-air bar space of Belgium. It's definitely the longest and most beautiful one I've seen ;) It was the cherry on the top of the cake of our #SundayLove.

Last but not least, if you are coming to Belgium and would like to know more about Leuven, you can download the app Leuven Walks to help you find the best and most secret places of the old town.

You can see more photos of my trips on Instagram and videos on Youtube

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