Cathedral Saint Michael Links
Brussels Present with Brussels Past
Travel to any European city - large or small - and you'll find that churches are often at the center of the city. Brussels' Cathedral Saint Michael is no exception. Located just a few minutes walk from the Grand Place and Central Station, the white Gothic church rises against a backdrop of business buildings.
Having been a part of Brussels history for more than 1,000 years, Cathedral Saint Michael connects Brussels present with Brussels past. Both locals and tourists frequent the quiet respite during the day and enjoy regular services on the weekends. The church offers several tours, taking you back to a Brussels that was Romanesque and medieval.
Cathedral Saint Michael and St. Gudula dates back as early as the 9th century. Originally constructed as a chapel dedicated to St. Michael in the 9th century, it was replaced by a Romanesque church in 1047. The relics of St. Gudula were transferred there and for nearly 1,000 years it was known as the collegiate church of St. Michael and St. Gudela. In 1962 it was upgraded to cathedral status and today it is called Cathedral St. Michel by the locals. It is the official church of the royal family and serves as the seat of the Archbishop of Malines-Brussels, together with St Rombouts cathedral in Malines.
* The building of the present church in Gothic "Brabançon" style began with the choir in 1226.
* Stained glass windows ad confessionals were installed in the 16th century.
* The pulpit was added in the 17th century.
* A full restoration was completed from 1983-1999.
According to the official website, "The building of the Cathedral commenced at the beginning of the 13th century on the orders of Henry I, Duke of Brabant. This period coincides with the appearance of the Gothic style in this area. It took about 300 years to complete this gigantic undertaking. It was finished just before the reign of the emperor Charles V. Its architecture shows the different characteristics of the Brabantine Gothic style. The restoration of the nave from 1983 to 1989 gave the stones, vaults and windows their splendour of former days. It was then possible to uncover important and well-preserved remnants of the Romanesque church of the eleventh century over which the present Gothic church is built (visits to these remains are possible)."
Of particular note is the Grenzing Great Organ. It occupies a 'bird's nest' position in the church which meets the acoustical needs of a gothic Cathedral (like other notable Gothic cathedrals in Chartres, Cologne and Strasbourg.)
Gee-whiz facts about the organ:
* It has a total of 4,300 pipes, 63 stops, 4 keyboards and the pedal-board.
* The middle of the organist's console is large enough to accommodate soloists.
* It is so versatile that it is capable of interpreting compositions in numerous styles and from many different musical eras.
* It was built by German organ-builder Gerhard Grenzing, based in Barcelona, in collaboration with the English architect Simon Platt.
National Events Held in Cathedral Saint Michael
1926 November: Wedding of Prince Leopold and Princess Astrid
1934 February: Funeral ceremony of King Albert l
1935 September: Funeral ceremony of Queen Astrid
1959 2 july: Wedding of Prince Albert and Princess Paola
1960 16 december: Wedding of King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola
1965 30 november: Funeral ceremony of Queen Elisabeth
1993 7 august: National funeral ceremony of King Baudouin
1995 4 june: (Pentecost) Visit of Pope John Paul II
1999 4 december: Wedding of Prince PHILIP of Belgium and Lady MATHILDE d'Udekem d' Acoz
2003 12 april: Wedding of Prince LAURENT of Belgium and Miss Claire Coombs.
How To Get There:
For a virtual tour of the exterior and map of how to get there click here.
* Monday to Friday: 7 am to 6 pm
* Saturday: 8.30 am to 6 pm (visits from 8.30 am to 3.30 pm only)
* Sunday: 8.30 am to 6 pm (visits from 2 pm only)
Entrance fee: free
Open every day from 8 am to 6 pm
Entrance fee: 1 euro (groups: 0,75 euro)
Open on request: tel & fax: 02/219.68.34
Visits in small groups (max 10 pers.)
Entrance fee: 2,50 euros
The Cathedral Treasure
* Monday to Friday: 10 am - 12.30 pm and 2 pm-5 pm
* Saturday: 10 am - 12.30 pm and 2 pm - 3.00 pm
* Sunday: 2 pm - 5 pm
* Adults: 1 euro (children: free)
* Schools: 5 euros
* Groups: 10 euros (min 10 pers.)
For free guided tours: please contact tel: 02/219.68.34