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Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudule

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Identification

Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudule
Cathédrale Saints-Michel-et-Gudule, Sint-Michiels-en-Sint-Goedelekathedraal, Cathédrale Saint-Michel, Sint-Michielskathedraal
108944

Map

Structure in General

church
existing [completed]
masonry
limestone
applied masonry
gothic
active heating (unspecified)
no

Usages

church (roman catholic)

Facts

  • Construction began with the choir in 1226, but proceeded slowly. As a consequence, it demonstrates a variety of styles from different periods.
  • The twin-towered west front was not finished until the 16th century.
  • In 1962 the church was officially declared cathedral, when the new archbishopric Mechlin-Brussels was founded.
  • In 1975 a carillon with 49 bells was installed.
  • Before construction of this cathedral started in the 13th century, there stood several other smaller churches, which were all replaces over centuries by bigger churches.
  • Construction of the southern tower was finished in 1451, while the northern tower was finished in 1480.
  • In 2000, a new organ was installed. It was constructed in Barcelona by the German organ-builder Gerhard Grenzing and English architect Simon Platt.
  • Along with S. Martin at Ypres and Notre Dame at Oudenarde, Cathedrale St-Michel represents the oldest surviving Gothic architecture in Belgium.
  • This cathedral is considered the oldest gothic church in the Benelux.
  • The first constructed parts of this church were the choir and the adjoining chapels, currently the eastern part of the cathedral.
  • The top floor of the northern tower contains the seven tons heavy Salvator bell from 1481, which is only used on special occasions.
  • The cathedral is built on a hillside, east of the bank of the river Zenne.
  • Nave and transept were built in several construction phases between 1328 and 1443.
  • In 1937, the remains of a previously built Romanesque church were discovered. During renovations in 1983-1990 archaeological research revealed a complete Romanesque basement, which is today accessible for visitors.
  • In the 13th century, Duke Henry I of Brabant decided to construct a new church: the current cathedral.
  • The construction took about 300 years, which is the complete period of gothic architecture in the area of Belgium.
  • The church suffered enormously from the destructions of iconoclastic Protestants (1579) and from the French occupation (1794).
  • Both towers have on the top floor four bells.
  • All stained-glass windows on both north and south aisle of the nave were designed by Jean-Baptiste Capronnier between 1857 and 1862.
  • After the Second Vatican Council, the cathedral was only named after Saint Michael, since there was some doubt of the historical existence of Saint Gudule, until this changed again in 1993, when the cathedral is again officially named after both saints.
  • The height under the vault within the nave is 26.5m.
  • The great central window on the west façade was constructed in 1528 and depicts the Last Judgement.
  • Glassworker Jan Haeck completed in 1537 the large stained-glass window on the northern transept. This window was designed by Bernard van Orley. It depicts Emperor Charles V and his wife Elizabeth of Portugal kneeling before the Lord.

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More Information

Location

Parvis Sainte-Gudule / Sint-Goedelevoorplein
Parvis Sainte-Gudule / Sint-Goedelevoorplein
1000
Brussels
Brussels-Capital Region
Belgium

Technical Data

226.38 ft
226.38 ft
360.89 ft
164.04 ft
1226
1480

Involved Companies


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Features & Amenities

  • One of the city's famous buildings
  • City landmark
  • National landmark
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