Nobody will now answer, how and where Brussels originated: whether on the banks of the river Zenne, or on a hillside Kaudenberg, where later they erected the Ducal Castle, but the name of the city from the medieval Dutch language means "settlement in the swamp."
The economic development of the city begins in the late 10th century, when Duke Charles, the younger brother of the King of West Francia Lothar, received from the German Emperor Otto II duchy of Lower Lorraine. On one of the islands in the river Zenne young Carl built a fortress to protect his empire against French raids.
The favorable geographical position at the crossroads of trade routes connecting England and Flanders to the areas of the Rhine and the Meuse, convenient location of the city for merchants who sought to goods from the north to the south of Europe, has brought fame to Brussels. The labor activity of citizens - weavers, blacksmiths, tanners, provided the prosperity of the city.
In the 13th century people built one of the most famous monuments of architecture on Brussels’ main square (Grand Place). It was House of Bread, where bakers used to store grain. Later, the building served as a prison, a place of tax collection, and when the dukes of Brabant started living here, the house came to be called the House of the Duke. But this was not the final name - after the conquest of the territory of the French house was renamed the House of the People. The building was very spacious, grand and later the house got a new name: King's House, which has survived to this day, although there has never lived a king.
As the economy strengthened, the political power of the city grew, too. In the mid-13th century during the reign of John I Brussels became his residence. Duke loved this city and presented it a number of privileges: freed from feudal oppression, ordered to distribute income to the city treasury.
In the 15th century, Brussels is experiencing a rapid flowering of national literature an anonymous mystery "Seven Mary Joy" was written in the Medieval Dutch. It was so popular with the local people and the city authorities. At the same time, the first burgher drama "Mirror of Love" was written and first laudatory poem on the medieval Dutch, dedicated to the birth of Margaret of Austria. In these works, Brussels is celebrated with great pride, its magnificence, joy of pleasure emphasized, the city itself was compared to the ancient Troy.
In 1401 at the Grand Platz another monument of architecture extant was erected, called the City Hall. As befits the era of the Middle Ages, the building was erected in the Gothic style, in several stages, using additional equipment parts. So after 50 years a Watch Tower was added to the Town Hall - a sample of style, beauty and lightness, 96 meters high.
In the 16th century the fate turned its face to Brussels - the city became the seat of Charles the V - the most powerful European monarch, elected Holy Roman Emperor. Since then Brussels was visited by foreign monarchs, famous secular person, and high church officials. It is logical that in Brussels appeared an international postal service, linking the city with the largest European centers: Paris, Amsterdam, Toledo, Verona, Rome, Granada, Naples, Cologne. In addition a riverboat set appeared between Brussels and Antwerp, which allowed the development of international trade relations: Brussels began to import fish and beer of English, Dutch and German manufacturers.
At the same time a fierce persecution of Protestants has started and thus with increased pressure promotes the Roman Catholic religion. Dissatisfaction with foreign domination, incessant war and violence, religious fanaticism, the growth of the poor and the needy, the economic crisis and the Catholic Counter-Reformation led to the fact that Brussels becomes a city of striking poverty. Vagrants and beggars are imprisoned, are sent to the galleys, impoverished foreigners are sent out of the city.
The 17th century brought difficult times to Brussels. The city suffered a bloody war. In 169on the soldiers of Louis XIV, dropped over 3 thousand bombs on the city and that turned Brussels into a flaming glow. The city center turned into a pile of ashes. Even Napoleon, the conqueror called it a barbaric act.
However, the enthusiasm of the local people and the money of the rich representatives of various guilds (butchers, brewers, haberdasher, bakers, and cabinetmakers) allowed rebuilding the Grand Place from the ruins in 4 years. The updated area successfully combined the Flemish Baroque styles and Brabant Gothic. Despite the political ambitions of kings, city economic life developed very actively. After the decline of the cloth industry began to develop the production of carpets.
Excellent quality of these products was highly appreciated by the kings and the Roman bishops. And at this time in Brussels they opened a Crystal Factory, salt works, soap factories and many thriving breweries. The 18th century can be described as flourishing economic life of the city.
The architecture of the city at this time was created with the best canons of classicism. Literary works were still written in Dutch, but in a different style - light comedy, theater plays, poetry accompaniment to operas and operettas. An important milestone in the history of this period is the appearance of Grand Theatre, where all performances were played in French.
As often happens, the welfare era ended quickly and unexpectedly: losing independence, Belgium passed from the influence of the Spanish crown in the hands of the Austrians, and a short-term revival of the former greatness during the reign of Charles V was preceded by centuries of economic and cultural decline. Religious wars were followed by internal conflict, after the French Revolution, it was the era of the Napoleonic Wars ... Only in 1830, Brussels has entered a new phase of prosperity: it is from here began the uprising that served as the start of the Belgian revolution.
Independent country needs a worthy capital, so the middle of XIX century, large-scale construction begins in Brussels. In an effort to impress the neighbors, the Belgian authorities sometimes took down entire neighborhoods to build their own "wonder of the world", as it was with the Justice Palace (Palais de Justice). Later, the city status rose even higher: from the middle of the XX century Brussels is de facto the capital of the whole of Europe, because there are many institutions of the European Union, which solved the major problems of the Old World. And even undergone radical changes in their status and appearance, Brussels has managed not only to preserve the unique flavor of the Middle Ages, but also to create a very special atmosphere.