Kortrijk (Frans: Courtrai) is a central city in the south of the Belgian province of West Flanders. The city lies on the river Lys and has about 75.000 inhabitants. Kortrijk is located 25 km northeast of the French city Lille.
Kortrijk originated from a Gallo- Roman town at a crossroads near the Lys River and two Roman Roads. During the Middle Ages Kortrijk grew significantly thanks to the flax and wool industry and became one of the biggest and richest cities in Flanders. The city is referred to as ‘City of Groeninge or City of the Golden Spurs’ referring to the Battle of Courtrai or the Battle of the Golden spurs which took place on 11 July 1302 on the Fields of Groenige in Kortrijk. In 1820, the Treaty of Kortrijk was signed, which laid out the current borders between France and Belgium.
Throughout the 19th and 20th century, Kortrijk became a centre of the flax industry and remains an important region within the Belgian textile industry today.
In addition, it is now a major shopping town and fulfils a central function in the areas of employment, services and education. The city has several colleges besides a university and is home to several hospitals. Kortrijk was the first city in Belgium with a pedestrian shopping street, called the ‘Korte Steenstraat’. Nowadays, a big part of the historical city centre is a complete pedestrian area with lots of shops.
Tourism and Attractions:
Kortrijk is a historic city with a rich cultural heritage. Despite the many ravages through numerous wars the historic centre is quite well preserved. Today, Kortrijk has a lot of protected monuments and buildings, two of which, in particular, ‘the belfry’ and ‘the Beguinage’, they wear the title of ‘UNESCO World Heritage’. In addition, Kortrijk has a lot of valuable Kortrijk street facades. The heritage of Kortrijk includes mills, statues and natural landscapes.
In addition to the historical heritage is in Kortrijk recent years many remarkable achievements accomplished in the field of contemporary architecture .
There are also several museums to visit in the city. Besides the new museum Kortrijk 1302 there include also the Broel museum, het Flax museum, the bakery museum and the Beguinage museum.
Kortrijk is located in the Lys , one of the Flemish tourist regions . Every summer, boat trips on the Lys and the parks and the new walking and cycling promenades along the Lys offer many recreational opportunities provided welcome relief. The history, the restaurants, the museums, but also the pedestrian shopping streets and malls lure a lot of people to this city.
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