The last week I was a few times in de Maastricht. My son is player soccer in town and we go every week a few time to the soccer pitch where he is playing as a goalkeeper. One of my favorite sporting models as you find out in my portfolio. I go often photographing in town when he is playing. So I was thinking what highlights does Maastricht have when you take a walk right true town from the north to the south.
My trip thru Maastricht starts at the Bassin. This secret piece of Berlin in Maastricht, there is The Bassin. The inner harbor is located in the middle of the Sphinx quarter. The port is surrounded by monumental pottery factories from Sphinx. The warehouses have been converted into homes and in the refurbished cellars you will find nice and delicious restaurants, galleries and lovely terraces. On the other site of the production plant you find the Pathé movie theater. Are you more interested in art house movies then you will find the Lumière on the other side of the road. Very worth it.
In front of the Pathé theater with the big Sphinx sign I took a left and walked up to the Cityhall. The City Hall of Maastricht is the
historic town hall of the Dutch municipality of Maastricht. The town hall is located in the center of Maastricht in the middle of the Markt and has a rich, largely 18th-century interior. The completely natural stone-clad, freestanding building is a design by Pieter Post and is considered an important example of Dutch classicism. Other famous buildings in the Netherlands are The Maurtish House in The Hague and the Royal Palace on the Dam in Amsterdam. Pretty cool I would say, isn’t it?
Walking to the right you will find the Vrijthof. The great Sint Servaas Basilica is located on this beautiful square in Maastricht. This square is the vibrant heart of the city. Regular events are organized. You can think of the carnival activities that take place on this square or the Christmas market. Every year, André Rieu, from Maastricht, performs on this square with a large open-air concert that is performed several times in the summer. The square is then completely filled with chairs. Special picture.
Walking past the square you can see the imposing Sint Servaas basilica. It is built on the grave of Saint Servaas, the first bishop of Maastricht. The inside of this basilica is as impressive as the outside you expect. In the windows of the basilica, the bishops of measurement are processed. Really very special. View their site www.sintservaas.nl.
When you walk to the left at the end of the square and walk through the sometimes narrow street you come to the ‘Onze Lieve Vrouwe‘ square. This square has been voted several times as one of the nicest squares in the Netherlands. The square itself is named after the Our Lady Basilica which has a prominent place on this square. The Notre-Dame Basilica (officially: Basilica of Our Lady Assumption, also called Sterre-der-Zee) is a Romanesque church in the center of the Dutch city of Maastricht, situated on the eponymous Onze Lieve Vrouweplein. The building is a national monument and belongs to the list Top 100 of the Rijksdienst voor Monumentenzorg (National Heritage Agency), established in 1990 by the National Cultural Heritage Agency (formerly: Rijksdienst voor de Monumentenzorg). The Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe basilica is best known for the imposing western buildings, the sculpted capitals in the choir and the chapel of the Sterre der Zee. The church and chapel are open daily and freely accessible; the cloister and treasury after payment.
If you take a left on this square you just walk up to the river Maas. Here you find a old bridge. The Roman bridge of Maastricht was a bridge that was built around or shortly after the middle of the first century AD. The bridge, actually a series of bridges that have succeeded each other over the centuries, was an extension of the Plankstraat, some 200 meters south of the current Sint Servaas bridge and probably served up to 1275. The archaeological site of the bridge has been a national monument since 2017.
De Maas (French: Meuse) is a 950 kilometer long river in Western Europe. The Maas originates in France and then flows through Belgium and the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, the Meuse is the southernmost of the major rivers and flows into the Dutch delta in the North Sea. It splits Maastricht into two halves. It is also an important transport connection from the large port of Rotterdam to France. You will therefore regularly see inland vessels that sail to or from Belgium and France.
Back at our Onze Lieve Vrouwe Basilica, you see, standing in the square, on the right the Koestraat. This is one of the many cozy streets in Maastricht where the exuberant life in the Netherlands is lived. Between the Maas and the Koestraat you can still walk to one of the city gates of Maastricht. The well-known Helpoort is a good example of this. This gate from 1229 is the oldest city gate in the Netherlands. Maastricht, after having obtained its city rights, felt obliged to protect itself as a city. From here you can also walk parts of the city walls. If you are visiting the city for longer, that is definitely worth the effort. If you want to, a separate blog will be devoted to that. There will be some interesting elements that will surprise you.
The history of Maastricht has long been determined by the presence of military personnel. The Romans were the first to build a fortress, a castellum. After the city got its city rights in the early 13th century, construction of the city wall started. A second city wall followed a century later. This made Maastricht a fortress city. Due to its strategic location, Maastricht was for centuries one of the most important fortification and garrison towns of Northwest Europe. From the city park these walls can still be clearly seen and give Maastricht an impressive appearance.
The remnants of Fort Sint Pieter are also clearly part of this. It dates from 1701 and the strategic location and the good view over the area helped protect the city. Nowadays it is open to the public and you can learn more about the history of the fort and the city.
If you continue to progress, you will encounter the ENCI site. This quarry is still under development. Not only marl mining, which will stop in 2018, but especially nature development. The area is managed by Natuurmonumenten. You will find here, for example, a lookout post where you, if you are lucky, can see Eagle Owls flying. In short, very worthwhile.
With that my walk comes to an end. I am close to the football field where my son trains. I pick him up and we go home. Until the next blog.