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Visiting rue Baron Horta / Baron Hortastraat, Brussels, Belgium: stairway and fountain with historical memories

Updated on October 4, 2011
Flag of Belgium
Flag of Belgium | Source
Rue Baron Horta / Baron Hortastraat, Brussels, Belgium. Fountain and stairway with a view of the statue of General Belliard in the background
Rue Baron Horta / Baron Hortastraat, Brussels, Belgium. Fountain and stairway with a view of the statue of General Belliard in the background | Source
Statue of Augustin Daniel Belliard by Guillaume Geefs, Brussels, Belgium. Created 1836.
Statue of Augustin Daniel Belliard by Guillaume Geefs, Brussels, Belgium. Created 1836. | Source
Map location of Brussels, Belgium
Map location of Brussels, Belgium | Source

Centally located, ornamental passageway

This tasteful stairway and fountain in a Downtown area of Brussels, Belgium, is the sort of vicinity that the visitor may travel through rather than to. This is somewhat of a pity, because these features are of historic and artistic value in their own right.

It may be noted that the two streets which run diagonally along the end of the road, (French:) rue Royale , and (Dutch:) Koningsstraat , and (French:) rue Ravenstein and (Dutch:) Ravensteinstraat , lie at a difference of 9 metres in height from one another. Rue Royale / Koningsstraat , on the upper level from rue Ravenstein / Ravensteinstraat , runs close to the Royal Palace and adjacent to the neighbouring Brussels Park. At the lower level, the Ravenstein Gallery provides a link for pedestrians to Brussels Central Railroad Station.

In 1921, under the supervision of architect Fr. Malfait, work was commenced on the public stairway linking these two streets. Architect Malfait included an ornamental fountain in the centre of the stairway complex. The work was completed in 1923.

The statue is of General Belliard (1769-1832), who served as French Minister plenipotentiary in Brussels. Why is this remarkable? foreign visitors might ask. A reasonable question, but bear in mind that Augustin-Daniel, Count Belliard was a prominent diplomat, who died in Brussels, and who served at the period of history when the Kingdom of Belgium was being set up. This founding of the Belgian state occurred with the support of French King Louis-Philippe (whose daughter, Marie-Louise, became Queen Consort to Leopold I, King of the Belgians). In his day, General Belliard was thus a pivotal intermediary during a dramatic and even tumultuous era.

This statue was sculpted by Guillaume Geefs (1805-1883) in 1836 and formally unveiled in 1838. Scuptor Geefs was known for various other works commemorating public figures.

The city and region of Brussels being strictly bilingual, this short road are is known as both rue Baron Horta in French and Baron Hortastraat in Dutch. Previously its name was rue de la Bibliothèque in French and Bibliotheekstraat in Dutch. This reference to a library refers to a building, which, in the 18th century, housed surviving library stock from the former Coudenberg Palace, which burned down in 1731.

Also worth seeing

Brussels has so many visitor attractions, but just a few of these include the Royal Palace and BELvue museum, the Palace of Justice, the Grand' Place and the Erasmus House museum, Anderlecht, and many other remarkable public buildings and monuments.

...

How to get there: Brussels Airlines flies from New York to Brussels Airport (Brussel Nationaal / Bruxelles-National ), from where car rental is available. However, the public transit is a very convenient way of getting around Brussels . Visitors should note that some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. For up to date information, you are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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