Palace of Justice
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Admire Architecture Hidden from Sight
Visiting a country's Supreme Court may not rank high on your list of things to do, particularly when the building in question has been covered in scaffolding for almost 10 years. Brussels' Palace of Justice (Palais du Justice) has been mired in controversy from day one. It was the largest building constructed in the 19th century and, at 160 by 150 meters, is even larger than St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Constructing this monster of a building required leveling an entire section of Brussels. It just happened to be a working-class area. The wealthy landlords received pockets full of cash, while the residents ended up out in the cold. These days the Palace of Justice is controversial because of the on-going battle to remove the scaffolding, left behind by the now bankrupt renovation company. Peek behind the scaffolding however and you may be surprised to find sweeping staircases, marble statues and a grand reading-room. It is free and open to the public year-round, unless a sensitive trail is taking place.
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