Antwerp is Belgium's second city, and the largest in Flanders.
It rose to prominence when it became part of the Duchy of Brabant
in 1106, and became the region's main port. Over the next 200 years
Antwerp continued to thrive as a hub of the European cloth
industry. It also enjoyed a rich arts heritage, with many artists
including Pieter Paul Rubens, who was generally recognised as an
artistic genius in his lifetime.
Today, Antwerp still reflects its mercantile (and cultural)
past. The Grote Markt is the main square, flanked by ornately
decorated, gabled buildings. Perhaps the pick of these is the
Stadhuis (Town Hall), which was completed in 1564. It has beautiful
fresco paintings of the Dukes of Brabant on its interior (with
these paintings taking up an entire wall). The tallest building on
the Grote Markt is the House of the Crossbowmen, on top of which is
a statue of St George and the Dragon. The buildings on the Markt
all surround the central Brabo fountain, which is one of Antwerp's