"Once an important city, Mechelen" Mechelen by tompt
Mechelen Travel Guide: 287 reviews and 739 photos
About 500 years Mechelen was the most important city of the United Netherlands (then Netherland, Belgium, Luxemburg and a part of northern France). The highest court of the United Netherlands was here. Today you can still find the buildings and guides will tell great stories about important people who lived here, but Mechelen is not important anymore. Not political and it is not a tourist destination either. But that should change, there is lots to see and do in Mechelen.
What to see and do in Mechelen today?
Well there two things that dominate the city: churches and beer. It is combined in this picture, the church overlooking the beerbrewery.
Go and see a few of the 8 historic churches in the citycentre and then have a beer at a sunny terrace at the Grote Markt. The beer of Mechelen is called Gouden Carolus and comes in different varieties, dark and light coloured with different alcohol levels. The name is derived of emperor Charles.
And if you haven't drunk too much go for a walk through the streets of Mechelen, there are many forgotten streets and corners in the old city. But when you don't want to find out for yourself, you can follow one of the 4 signposted walks, all in different areas of Mechelen. Or get a leaflet with citywalks and explanation about the things you saw for less than 1 Euro at the Tourist Info.
Or visit the Hanswijk procession. An event that is held every year.
The old Mechelen was surrounded by smaller communities. Hanswijk was one of them. A merchantship come on the Dijle river it had a wooden statue of the Holy Mary on board. The ship got stuck at Hanswijk, it only got loose after the statue was brought ashore here. It was said Mary choose to stay here. This should have taken place around 988.
In 1272 Mechelen was a place of the plague and riots. The Hanswijk people carried a statue of Mary to Mechelen while they were praying. The people of Mechelen were frightened by the large amount opf people and closed the city gates. But when they heard the song “Monstra te esse matrem – Show us your are our mother” the old Brussels Gate opened. Shortly after the statue was carried through the streets of Mechelen the plague stopped and out of gratitude it was promissed to carry the statue through the city every year.
http://inenuit.mechelen.be/, tourist info Mechelen.
http://www.trabel.com/mechelen.htm, a website of a private tourist company.
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