This cathedral is an exemple of Brabantian gothic from
late gothic. In fact, is was built around a romanesque
church dating from 1124. This declares the irregular plan, certainly compared to
other gothic churches. The building of the gothic church started in
1352. It took 170 years to finish the building in its current shape. The romanesque
church was destroyed in 1487. As architects for the largest cathedral in the Benelux
we name Jacob van Thienen, Peter Appelmans, Jan
Tac, Everard van Veeweyden and the families de
The central aisle and the choir
vault were constructed around 1391. The interious is an exceptional large space,
consisting of no less than 7 aisles supprted by 48 great
clustered columns. Above the
arcades in the central nave, we see a
pseudotriforium, in fact reduced to a
In 1420, the construction of the left tower started. The
tower now reaches 123 m (the highest in the Low Lands in its time). It had a duible
function: in fact, it served as belfry and was paid by the city of
Antwerp. Still today, the city owns it. Hence, from time to time, you notice flags
on it, hihgly unusual for church-towers. The right tower, that was meant to be the
real chruch tower, even had to be higher. The construction started in 1430, but it
never was finished. The main porch was crowned by a
Because this church was built on wet grounds, out of the city, a lot of attention
given to the foundations. It is said, that the architect used cow-skins under it.
The emperor Charles even thought to enlargen the building. In 1521, he laid the
stone for this, according to plans by Rombout Keldermans and Domien de Waghemakere.
This is still visible when looking at the streats on the east-side. A heavy fire in
1533 stopped those plans from being executed. Also the interious was seriously
Few years later, the church got elected to bisschop's seat (katheder)
for the (then new) diocese of Antwerp. Hence its title of 'cathedral'.
The icinoclastic furies of 1566 and 1581 lead to a lot of damage. During the
government (Napoleon), the church plundered. Town building master
succeeded in delaying plans to demolish the catherdral, so it survided the French
During the 19 century, it was refurnished. Old furnishment was bought from other
relegious buildings, and new, neoclassicistic and
was ordered. The choir by F.Durlet, as well as several
side altars and inner halls. The magnificent
pulpit dates from 1713 and is made by M.
der Voort Sr. It shows the Christian message to the 4 parts of the world.
The main altar dates from 1824, and was made by J.Blom. The Saint-
Antonius altar dates from the 17th century, and houses a statue by Arthus
Quellin. The Our-Ladies altar was made in 1678 by Arthus Quellin the Younger and
Pieter Verbruggen. There are 17th century confessionals
by Willem Kerricx, M.van der Voort and L.Willemsen.
The organ-case dates from 1567, and was adapted by Pieter Verbruggen
1657. The organ itself is made by P.Schyven.
The are interesting grave-stones, like the one for Isabella of
Bourbon (died in 1465) with a brass lying statue of her. This comes
from the Sint-
Michielsabbey in Antwerp. The grave-stone for bishop A.Capello from 1676 was made by
door Arthus Quellin the Younger in 1676.
The cathedral is world-famous for its paintings. You find Pieter Paul
Rubens' 'cross-hanging' and 'taking off the cross'. But there are ofcourse also
paintings by less famous masters, like 'Crying for Jesus' en 'Wedding in Cana' by
M. de Vos, 'Jesus' 15 bleedings' en 'Jesus with the scribers' by
Frans Francken, 'Taking off the cross' by A. van Noort
(ende 16th century) .
Since 1961, an important restauration was started.
This is a Russion text by SHADMURATOVa Aklia : 'Антверпенский Собор - одно из
чудес света ! Кружево в камне как
называют его фламандцы , он как воплощение человеческого духа и
бесконечность творческого потенциала , памятник Великим Фламандцам -
скромным в жизни и неповторимые в творчестве ! Собор как - shrijn -
сокровищница с неисчислимым количеством богатств - живописи ,
скульптуры , архитектуры ..... Настоятельно ремокомендую посетить !!!!
Ваш гид по Историческим городам Бельгии Аклия член королевской
гильдии гидов Gidsenbond , официальный гид города Брюгге