May 22, 2015

1601 BELGIUM (Antwerp) - Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp - part of Belfries of Belgium and France (UNESCO WHS)

Antwerp, the most populous city in Belgium, is located on the river Scheldt, linked to the North Sea by the Westerschelde estuary. It has long been an important city in the Low Countries, both economically and culturally, especially before the Spanish Fury (1576) in the Dutch Revolt. The Cathedral of Our Lady was started in 1352 and, although the first stage of construction was ended in 1521, has never been completed. In Gothic style, its architects were Jan and Pieter Appelmans. Its interior is an impressive sight, with sweeping Gothic lines and soaring vaults, all in gleaming white. The furnishings are a mix of Baroque and Neoclasssical styles. It contains also a number of significant works by the Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens, as well as paintings by artists such as Otto van Veen, Jacob de Backer and Marten de Vos.

Of the two planned towers, only the northern was finished, and has 123m hight, being the highest church tower in the Benelux. Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor commented that the spire should be kept under glass, and Napoleon compared the spire to Mechlin lace. The octagonal portion of the tower, constructed between 1501 and 1507 was designed by Herman de Waghemakere. Inside the tower is a carillon with forty-seven bells. The actual spire was built by Domien de Waghemakere, Antoon Keldermans II, and Rombout Keldermans between 1508 and 1518. This belfry is one of the 56 belfries of Belgium and France, inscribed by UNESCO on the list of World Heritage Sites as Belfries of Belgium and France about which I wrote here.

About the stamp, depicting a Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio Machaon), I wrote here.

Cathedral of Our Lady (Antwerp) - Wikipedia
Cathedral of Our Lady - A view on city

Sender: Marius Vasilescu
Sent from Antwerp (Antwerp / France), on 30.07.2014

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