The gothic buildings of Brussels' Grand Place have been given an extraordinary jolt of color this week, as volunteers constructed a giant floral carpet made from 600,000 begonias in the square's open space. Created as a tribute to African tapestry weavers the 1,800 square meter artwork is expected to be viewed by 100,000 people this weekend. Scroll down for photos.
According to a Belgian website dedicated to the floral tradition, the decadent flower arrangement is brought to Grand Place every two years, beginning in 1971 when landscape architect E. Stautemans first conceived of the enormous work of art. The carpets are created from locally-grown begonias, cultivated in the Ghent area and carefully chosen for their quality, durability and bold colors. Planned a year in advance, the carpet-making process involves several stages of outlining the design, recruiting skillful gardeners, and finally arranging the floral puzzle in just under four hours. Every carpet is based on a different theme, ranging from commemorations of historic events to recreations of town's coat of arms to volunteered designs from horticultural organizations.
Grand Palace stands as one of Belgium's biggest visitor attractions and has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The carpets bring vibrancy to the otherwise stone-washed buildings of the square, which consist of the city's Town Hall and the Maison du Roi (the King's house, often called the Breadhouse).