Work Hard Pray Hard
One of the city’s oldest churches in Brussels is a medieval stone’s throw from Grand Place. Established by the Brothers of Mercy in the 13th century, St Mary Magdalene is something of a miraculous survival. Two aisles were added in the 15th century and then 200 years later, the whole church was rebuilt. It was abandoned in the early 20th century and almost demolished during urban redevelopment. Fortunately, its historic and architectural value was finally recognised in the 1950s when the building was restored. The Chapel of St Anne, formerly on nearby Rue de la Montagne, was rebuilt and attached to the church. The 1615 baroque stone façade of St Anne’s contrasts with the gothic brick elevations of St Mary’s. Yet the building displays a remarkable unity, a testament to mid 20th century good heritage practice.