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Structure in General

existing [completed]
exposed structure


  • According to historians construction started circa 1200.
  • The oldest part of the cathedral appears to be the wall at the east side of the southern transept.
  • The cathedral tower was planned to be 167 meters tall, but money ran out at 97 meters.
  • The lower part of the tower is 90 meters high and only 7 meters of the higher part (pinnacled tower) has been built.
  • The first stone of the tower was placed on May 22, 1452 and was primarily financed by gifts.
  • The foundation has only a depth of 2.8 meters and a protrusion of just 46 centimeters.
  • A study from the 1970s reveals that the current foundation pressure is 6.5 kg/cm², completing the tower would result in 7.5 kg/cm², while the foundation could handle 13 kg/cm².
  • The transept and nave were built during the first construction period, circa 1200 to 1320.
  • The construction of the transept was finished around 1250.
  • The width of the transept is 13 meters. The width of the nave is 25 meters.
  • The nave, including the side-aisles, were constructed from 1250 to 1310.
  • The height of the vaults in the nave and the choir is 28 meters. The length of the choir is 30 meters.
  • The length of the church, not including the tower is 99.5 meters.
  • Construction was suspended due to the Great City Fire of 1342 which severely damaged the cathedral.
  • During the second building period, which lasted for about eighty years, construction of the choir and some adjoining chapels was finished (1393), while vaults for the nave (1437) and for the choir (1451) were placed.
  • In the third building period (1452-1520), construction work on the tower and some chapels at the north side of the nave was done.
  • The church was officially declared cathedral in 1559.
  • The following personalities went to the top of the tower: Louis XV King of France in 1745, Napoleon Bonaparte in 1803 and Albert I King of Belgium in 1914.
  • From 1963 to 1993 the tower has been reconstructed.
  • Other reconstructions at the outside of the cathedral started in 1981.
  • On August 1972, the roof and some cross-beams above the choir and the crossing, were severely damaged by fire.
  • In 1999, the cathedral was designated a part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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More Information


Grote Markt
Grote markt
Flemish Region

Technical Data

318.24 ft
318.24 ft
387.14 ft
135.17 ft

Involved Companies

Features & Amenities

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