As the church with the most Rubens influence in Antwerp, the painter’s contribution to the decorations on the facade and top of the steeple was considerable.
The Jesuit order commissioned the construction of this typically Baroque church, built between 1615 and 1621. The main altar's apse, Mary's chapel, the many sculptures and the elaborate wooden carvings bear testimony to the church's former glory.
A unique feature of this church is the original, functioning mechanism above the main altar used to switch paintings: an impressive spectacle.
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Shorter days and longer nights… Yes, autumn is here. But don’t worry, because in Antwerp we always make sure that every day and every night is simply unforgettable, with fun parties in unexpected places, concerts in palaces and exhibitions and culinary highlights in the city centre. And just when you think you’ve seen it all, we have another surprise up our sleeve for you. Book the Discover Antwerp package, spend the night in Antwerp and make the most of your stay with the Antwerp City Card that is included.
This Brabant Gothic-style church was built between 1491 and 1656. The gentry, the merchants and the city’s nobility wished to show off their wealth with a steeple that was meant to be higher than the cathedral’s. Building work was halted at 55m due to lack of funds. The parishioners were, however, able to exhibit their wealth in the church itself, in its impressive and beautifully decorated interior. One of the attractions of this church is the tomb of Rubens behind the main altar in the Chapel of Our Lady. Rubens painted the painting, ‘Our Lady surrounded by saints’ for his own tomb.
Step into the shoes of the leading Baroque artist of his era. Rubens and his family lived in this palatial setting for well over 25 years and it is here that the artist created the lion’s share of his work. Here he entertained Europe’s nobility and Royalty and stored his impressive art collection in a beautiful art room. The garden, the creators’ workshop and the fabulous collection draws 150 000 visitors from all over the world, year after year.
Near the river Scheldt you find Saint Paul’s Church, the former Dominican church, which was completed in 1639. The church has some splendid Baroque altars, more than 200 statues and 50 paintings. Masterpieces by artists such as Jordaens, Rubens, Van Balen and Van Dyck emphasise the church’s unique appeal. The Calvary garden looks like a set from an epic film about Christ’s suffering and resurrection.
It took 169 years (1352-1521) of labour to raise the 123m heavenward-reaching steeple of the Cathedral, the highest Gothic building in the Low Countries. The Cathedral is an iconic treasury, with an impressive collection of major art works, including a series of paintings by Rubens. Now, after twenty years, the seven-naved church has been restored to its former architectural glory. Fascinating features include Rubens’ ‘Elevation of the Cross’ and his ‘Descent from the Cross’. Any visit to Antwerp starts with a visit of the Cathedral of Our Lady.
In the early sixteenth century the Augustinian Friars built St. Andrew’s Church in the popular St. Andrew’s neighbourhood, which today is also the beating heart of the Antwerp fashion industry. Inside you can see stunning Baroque altars and seventeenthcentury works of art such as the monument for the Queen of Scotland, Mary Stuart. The dramatic nineteenth-century pulpit is a mustsee.
The secret Vlaeykensgang alley dates from 1591 and connects Hoogstraat, Oude Koornmarkt Pelgrimstraat with one another. Walk through the gate at Oude Koornmarkt 16 and you feel as if you have journeyed back in time. In the past this alley was where the shoemakers and the poorest people in the city lived. The shoemakers were also in charge of sounding the alarm bell of the cathedral. These days you can find antiques stores and art galleries here as well as the exclusive restaurant Sir Anthony Van Dyck. The atmosphere is very intimate which is why many people also like to come here to listen to the carillon concerts during the summertime.
Antwerp has a solid national and international reputation as a creative fashion city. The well-known Fashion Academy and the amazing Fashion Museum as well as the inspiring shopping streets and the various fashionable events organised in the city all contribute to this. The new Antwerp Fashion Weekend event only helps confirm why so many visitors from neighbouring cities and further afield think of Antwerp as the shopping capital of Belgium.
Get all you can out of Antwerp! Are you interested in exploring all of Antwerp? Then use the Antwerp City Card as your guide. The card will open the nicest, tastiest and most surprising doors of the city for you, for free or at a discount. What’s more, you can choose how long you want to use it. The best of Antwerp Antwerp has so much to offer that it would take a lifetime to discover everything. But you only have a weekend or a midweek. That is why we selected the best the city has to offer: the Cathedral of Our Lady, the Rubens House, the MAS museum... and what’s more, your Antwerp City Card entitles you to free admission to all these attractions. You can also use public transportation free of charge as long as your Antwerp City Card is valid. Besides this, you can also cheaply rent a bike, receive a discount in the chip shop and use your free ticket for the hopNstop shuttle (do take it at least once!).