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* [[Brussels]]: Belgian and European capital.
* [[Brussels]]: Belgian and European capital.
* [[Antwerp]]: a large and active harbor city, famous for
it's fashion and diamonds. |+|
* [[Antwerp]]: a large and active harbor city, famous for fashion and diamonds.
An important and vibrant university city with beautiful architecture, often overlooked by tourists who visit Brugge or Brussels. |+|
* [[Ghent]]: important and vibrant university city with beautiful architecture, often overlooked by tourists who visit or Brussels.
The famous capital of West-Flanders. The entire city centre is Unesco Heritage. Often called : "Venice of the north", due to the many canals and scenic centre. |+|
* [[Bruges]]: famous capital of West-Flanders. The entire city centre is Unesco Heritage. Often called "Venice of the north", due to the many canals and scenic centre.
Pretty town famous for World War I battles. |+|
* [[Ypres]]: town famous for World War I battles.
* [[Lille]]: French big city with Flemish roots, forms a metropolitan area with
* [[Lille]]: French big city with Flemish roots, forms a metropolitan area with .
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Revision as of 19:06, 14 February 2013
Broel Towers along the river Lys
Courtray (Dutch: Kortrijk, French: Courtrai) is a city in Flanders, the northern part of Belgium. It is the capital and biggest city of the arrondissement of Courtray, which comprises some 278,160 inhabitants (1 January 2007). The wider municipality comprises the city of Courtray proper and the towns of Aalbeke, Bellegem, Bissegem, Heule, Kooigem, Marke, and Rollegem.
The city is situated on the Leie River, 42 km (26 miles) southwest of Ghent and 25 km (15 miles) northeast of Lille in France. Both Courtray and Lille are part of the same transnational Eurodistrict urban area with around 1,900,000 inhabitants.
As the biggest city of southern West Flanders, Courtray has many schools, a university, hospitals and shopping streets.
Courtray is a medium city, it has a good balance of tradition and innovation/modernism. It is seen as the Texas of Flanders, one of the richest and most economic developped areas in Flanders.
Courtray has always been famous for shopping, and in 2010 a big shopping centre was opened in the heart of the city. There are numerous traffic-free shopping zones, and lots historical sites in the city centre. Outside the centre there are some less developped hoods, but never really bad neighbourhoods. Suburbs/satellite cities like Menen have to endure mainly burglary criminality from youth and gangsters, but Courtray is rather safe.
The city is known as the Guldensporenstad (City of the Golden Spurs), afther the battle of the Golden Spurs in 1302. It used to be the centre of the linen industry and is still known as an important textile industry region.
Courtray can be easily accessed by various types of transport:
Courtray's main railway station is an intercity train station. Situated in the heart of Courtray, you have easy connections to Ghent, Antwerp, Mechelen, Brussels, Bruges, Ostend, Ypres and Lille.
Next to the train station there is a large bus station, giving access to regional bus lines and a well constructed city bus network. Eurolines buses stop at the train station or at the Kinepolis cinema, outside the city. The Kinepolis site has good connections to the train station.
Thalys/Eurostar/TGV lines do not stop at Courtray. There is a direct connection to the Lille Flandres and Lille Europe train station (30 minutes by train) however. Accessing Courtray from England/Paris through stopping in Lille is easier to do than going to Brussels and taking the regional train in Brussels.
Courtray has an inner circle, the R8. This highway is connected to the A19 (Ypres/Ieper), E403 (Bruges/Brugge, Ostend/Oostende, Tournai/Doornik) and the E17 (Lille/Rijsel, Ghent/Gent, Antwerp/Antwerpen, Brussels/Brussel).
- Courtray Airport. Mainly business travel. No daily passenger services.
- Daily connections by train to Brussels Airport. Lille Airport can also be an option.
Courtray has a well-formed bus system, offering easy transport to main spots like Kortrijk Xpo and most surrounding cities.
As Courtray is a part of Flanders, the main language is Dutch. Many of the inhabitants will be happy to answer you in English or in French, although starting a discussion in French could offend some of the locals. German is also quite prevalent.
- Kortrijk 1302: An interactive museum showing you the Battle of the Golden Spurs (11th of july 1302). This battle is historical because it was one of the first battles where a peasant-based army defeated a knights army. After the battle, the spurs of the fallen horses were kept as a victory sign. The battle gave Flanders its regional holiday.
- Museum of Fine Arts situated in an old 18th-century mansion. Mostly contains regional artists (f.i. Roelant Savery) and an unique collection of ceramic.
- National line museum. Shows a historical image of the line industry in Courtray and the surroundings.
- Groeninge-abbey and the Groeningemuseum. This museum tells the story of Courtray from the Roman empire through the first world war.
- Bakery and mill museum in Marke
- Agricultural museum in Bissegem
The scenic Begijnhof, a Beguinage
- City Hall
- het Belfry at the Grand Place (UNESCO-heritage)
- The scenic Begijnhof (UNESCO-heritage)
- The Béguinage was founded in 1238 by Johanna Van Constantinopel. It was destroyed 3 times and rebuilt for the last time in the 17th century.
- 2 almost identical Broeltowers are remainings of the medieval city wall.
- They are the typical image of Courtray. Build in the 13th and 15 century, they are located at both sides of the Leie river.
- Hospital, founded between 1200 and 1204.
- a medical garden and 13 old houses.
- A gotic church, built and rebuild after a fire in the 14th century.
The Béguinage, surrounding park and the Sint-Maartenstower
- Groeningekouter: supposed to be the field where the Battle of the Golden Spurs took place.
- The fontain The Wave at the Schouwburgplein, near the theatre.
- A Olivier Strebelle-fountain
Courtray is situated on the "Vlaanderen Fietsroute", a cycling network through Flanders, a network of 800 kilometers guiding you through Flanders nicest spots by bike.
In the neighbourhood
- Brussel: Belgian capital.
- Antwerpen: a large and active harbor city
- Gent: A medieval town.
- Brugge: The entire city centre is Unesco Heritage. Often called: "Venice of the North", due to the many canals and scenic centre.
Courtray offers one of the biggest car free areas in Belgium where one can shop or have drink on a nice terrace. One of these streets, the Korte Steenstraat, was the very first pedestrian street in Belgium. In the heart of this pedestrian area, a large covered shopping centre, named K in Kortrijk, opened during spring 2010. This shopping mall makes the pedestrian link between the Lange Steenstraat and the Veemarkt-square and offers some 90 large stores.
- Parkhotel next to the Station.
- Generally safe, small unsafe areas near the station (at night) and the Venning, a local neighbourhood.
- Brussels: Belgian and European capital.
- Antwerp: a large and active harbor city, famous for its fashion and diamonds.
- Ghent: an important and vibrant university city with beautiful architecture, often overlooked by tourists who visit Bruges or Brussels.
- Bruges: the famous capital of West-Flanders. The entire city centre is Unesco Heritage. Often called "the Venice of the north", due to the many canals and scenic centre.
- Ypres: pretty town famous for World War I battles.
- Lille: French big city with Flemish roots, forms a metropolitan area with Courtray.