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Antwerp is a city in the north of Belgium. The city is home to a population of 458,000 inhabitants and it is thought to date back to Gallo-Roman times. Antwerp became extremely prosperous in the 15th century, as foreign trade guilds began settling in the area. During World War II, the German army occupied the city and much of Antwerp's original architecture was destroyed. Following the liberation of the city on September 4th, 1944, the German army attempted to destroy Antwerp's port - one of the biggest in the world.
Today, Antwerp remains a prosperous city and it is one of the three chief centres for the global diamond industry. Although much of the city's historical architecture has been destroyed, some stunning examples do remain, not least the Gothic Cathedral of Our Lady, the Baroque St. Carolus Borromeus Church and St Andrew's Church built by Saxon Augustinian monks in 1529.
One of Antwerp's most popular attractions is Antwerp Zoo - the oldest zoo in the world. The zoo has been in the centre of the city for over 160 years and despite its age, it boasts an extremely progressive attitude and is part of many international breeding programmes. The city is also home to the very modern Aquatopia aquarium, boasting a range landscapes such as rainforests, underwater caves and coral reefs.
Antwerp has been renowned for its shopping opportunities since the 16th century, and today, the city does not disappoint. The Central Station area is famed for its stunning diamond trade, while the Meir district is the perfect destination for high street clothes shopping. The area around Nationalestraat is a must for shoppers looking for unique fashion designed by Belgian artists.
Antwerp is famed for its cultural output and the South District is home to an abundance of galleries, museums, unique shops and charming cafes. Some museums in the area include: MUHKA, the Museum of Modern Art and the Zuiderpershuis centre for intercultural art. The district is also home to Het Muntplein, an area where graffiti artists are encouraged to display their work.
About the Author
Dara Ward manages over 150 travel websites including Hotels in Antwerp. Dara operates from Ireland's oldest 2 storey thatched cottage in County Wexford, South East Ireland.
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