|• Mayor||Charles Picqué (PS)|
|• Total||2.52 km2 (0.97 sq mi)|
|Population (January 2010)|
|• Density||18,640/km2 (48,290/sq mi)|
In 1830, Brussels became the capital of newly founded Belgium. As a result, the rural village of Saint-Gilles went through a big growth. The population went from 2,500 around 1800 to more than 33,000 in 1880 to a peak of 60,000 in 1910.
The pattern of the streets was completely remodeled in the 1860s by architect and urbanist Victor Besme. These were the years when the Louise Avenue, the Brussels-South railway station, and the new Saint Giles church were built. They were soon followed by the new jail and city hall. Today, Saint-Gilles is one of the densest municipalities of the Brussels agglomeration.
Sights[change | change source]
- Particular architectural delights are found in the dozen or more Art Nouveau houses designed by masters such as Horta, Struyvens, and Hankar. The house that Horta designed for himself, now the Horta Museum, is there, on Rue Americaine/Amerikaansestraat. Several of those houses have been recognized as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 2000.
- The imposing town hall, built between 1900 and 1904, looks larger than it is, and looks like a French château with Venetian overtones.
- The extant Gothic revival jail and the demolished Palais de la Monnaie/Munthof (mint) both date from the 1880s, while Saint Giles's church was built in 1867.
- There is not a lot of open space in the municipality, although the Forest park is on its western side.
Politics[change | change source]
Events[change | change source]
- an annual open day for local artists, the Parcours des Artistes
- the annual festival of Brussels's Portuguese community
- an annual winegrowers' festival (fête des vignerons)
Famous inhabitants[change | change source]
- Jef Lambeaux, sculptor (1852–1908)
- Victor Horta, Art Nouveau architect (1861–1947)
- Pierre Paulus, expressionist painter (1881–1959)
- Paul Delvaux, surrealist painter (1897–1994)
- Paul-Henri Spaak, politician and statesman (1899–1972)
Sports[change | change source]
Saint Gilles has a football club called Royal Union Saint Gilloise. They were successful until the 1930s.
References[change | change source]
- Bernier, Fernand (1904). Weissenbruch. ed (in French). Monographie de Saint-Gilles lez-Bruxelles - Histoire et description illustrées. Brussels.
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