One of the most iconic landmarks in Brussels is the gothic city hall that borders part of Le Grand Place. Actually, the structure was constructed in segments, with the L-shaped East wing being the oldest (built between 1402 and 1421). The next two segments were completed in 1444 and 1452. The 96 meter tall tower was added in 1455, topped with a 5 meter tall, gilded, statue of Michael the Archangel (the patron saint of Brussels) slaying a dragon. Legend has it that the dragon symbolized disease which folks believed was carried by the wind. As a result, Michael is pivoted to swing his sword into the wind in order to stop any disease from entering the city. In 1695, as the French attacked Brussels, city hall was totally destroyed by a fire. The set of buildings was quickly rebuilt to resemble the original structures.
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.