In the center of Brussels a lot of the beautiful manors and old historical houses have been demolished in the 60th to make space for ugly modern glass boxes. Fortunately there are some municipalities which have been spared and have kept their original look. One of them is St. Gilles.
It is one of the nineteen municipalities in Brussels. Particular architectural delights are found in the dozen or more Art Nouveau houses . Several of those houses have been recognized as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 2000.
Saint-Gilles is also known as one of the centers of artistic and student life in Brussels. Today, Saint-Gilles is one of the densest municipalities of the Brussels. Half of the population are foreign nationalities, the majority are Morrocans, followed by Spanishs, Portugueses, Italians, Greeks and also Britts.
So lets do a little walk through St. Gilles
Beautiful iron balconees everywhere
The imposing town hall, built between 1900 and 1904, looks larger than it is, and bears a splendid resemblance to a French château with Venetian overtones.
a memorial for fallen soldiers in WW II
Spring arrived and the first people are sitting outside the cafés
another very stylish house
and now, believe it or not, we arrive at the prison !
The prison of Saint-Gilles, was built between 1878 and 1884, in Tudor style, and looks rather like a medieval castle or a fort with its towers and gates. It is the largest prison in Brussels. The reputation of this prison is not very good because it is very old fashioned inside and houses too many inmates.
There were some women standing outside the door, probably waiting for a husband, a brother or a father.
The carved wooden door is quiet impressive
Just in front of the prison is a little parc and houses
It must be interesting to live just in front of a jail !
(St.Gilles for those who wants to know more about its history).