The twin Gothic towers and outstanding stained-glass windows of the city's cathedral look down over the city. One namesake, Saint Michael, is recognized as the patron saint of Brussels, but mention Saint Gudule and most people will draw a blank. Very little is known about this daughter of a 7th-century Carolingian nobleman, but her relics have been preserved here for the past 1,000 years. Construction of the cathedral began in 1226 and continued through the 15th century;
chapels were added in the 16th and 17th centuries. The remains of an 11th-century Romanesque church that was on the site can be glimpsed through glass apertures set into the floor. These, as well as the crypt and treasure rooms, can be visited for a nominal fee. Among the windows in the cathedral designed by various artists, those by Bernard van Orley, a 16th-century court painter, are the most spectacular. The window of The Last Judgment, at the bottom of the nave, is illuminated from within in the evening. All royal weddings and christenings take place here.
Parvis Ste-Gudule, Brussels, B1000, Belgium