Petit Sablon

It's either Le Square du Petit Sablon or De Kleine Zavel, depending on your language, but everyone just calls it the Petit Sablon.  There does happen to be a Grande Sablon as well just down the street from here!

The Petit Sablon is a small park near the center of the city that was built to celebrate the high time of the Guilds during the 15th century.  The Guilds were the early labor groups - one for the millers, one for the hatters, one for the crossbowmen, one for the bakers, and so on to cover all the jobs.  They were created to challenge the local authorities so they could have more individual freedoms in their trades and they became very powerful!  They also ensured that a system of pricing and weights was used so that all trade would be fair.  Each major guild built a Hall for their meetings and so on and those are what surround our Grand Place and spread out from there since that is where the original markets where held.  Around the Petit Sablon, you will find 48 little statues of men, each one representing a different guild that existed then and each one holding something that represents his work - it's fun to go around and try to guess which one does what!  I do have a guide, in English, that tells me know, so if you come to visit we can figure out if we are right or not!

The large statue in the middle of the Sablon represents two famous men who fought for religious freedom in Belgium, but they were beheaded for it...

Sonya was the only one who went on this particular trip - it's one of the tours she does with the women's club and our wonderful tour guide, Andree.

As a show of their power, and to house a statue that arrived in Brussels by boat, the Crossbowmen build this grand church just across the street from the Petit Sablon.  Churches were often built to house a relic or something that had arrived...

Around the inside of the Sablon are statues of famous Belgians - I took a picture of Mercator since our family likes his maps!

These final two pictures show pieces of the original wall that surrounded Brussels for it's protection.  There are only bits of it left these days - one of these is by a bowling alley and arcade, the other was discovered when someone was doing some renovation work on apartment buildings and at that point it was restored.