Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Brussels - Church of Our Lady of Laeken

Date of tour: 10th October 2015

We started using Metros from the Grand Place to the remaining places onwards as all attractions seated quite far for us to walk. Initially I was planning to visit 2 parks, i.e. either Juberpark or Royal Park but looking at the far distance of Juberpark, I cancelled my plan. Instead, we've headed towards Royal Park, which is nearer and since it was about time for us to perform our obligatory prayer. And yes, we wanted so much to perform prayer at the parks, like we did when we were in Paris and London last year. The metro route that we rode took us to the Church of Our Lady of Laeken. Its beauty can be seen from far distance. A beauty that brought so much motivation for a person to walk despite the distance. However, I was rather disappointing as the church was closed due to a scheduled wedding later that night.

Church of Our Lady of Laeken is a neo-Gothic Roman Catholic church situated in Laeken, Brussels. It was originally built in memory of Queen Louise-Marie, wife of King Leopold I, designed by an architect by the name of Joseph Poelaert. The Queen died in Ostend in 1850 and it was her wished to be buried in Laeken. Leopold I wished the church to be constructed in her memory and as a mausoleum for her. It is situated nearby Royal Castle of Laeken was, and still is, the royal residence till present. We headed to the Laeken park thereafter for our prayer with confidence that we were on the right track, I mean nearing the Royal Palace and greenhouse that I wished so much to see.

The then young architect Joseph Poelaert was chosen to design the new church, who later became a renowned figure for the Law Courts of Brussels. The first foundationstone was laid by King Leopold I himself in 1854. The church was consecrated in 1872, but not completed until 37 years later after a lengthy interruption of the work. The crypt holds the tombs of the Belgian royal family, including those of all the former Belgian kings, including King Leopold 1 and II.

The adjacent Laeken Cemetery behind the church is sometimes known as the "Belgian Pere Lachaise" because it is the burial place of many people who were rich and famous. Inside the church of which we cannot see is the grave of Prince Baudouin with honour guard. I managed to peek inside in between a half open heavy door in photo above. I felt like an intruder. The burial place somehow brought a memory of where I was at exploring in Istanbul, a graveyards of the Ottoman ruler 's family in Suleymaniye Mosque. There are many common things between people of the books, I mean similarity the way the ruler were respected.

We cleanse for prayer at the nearby public toilets with the permission of the guard. The toilet is spotless clean but there is no heater, hence, the tap water was as cold as ice. Still, we were bless for being able to cleanse before headed to pray at the Laeken park, nearby. 2 below photos was after we have done with little exploration and heading towards the last destination, Atomium.

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