Residing over Plaza del Mercado Grande, San Pedro projection is similar to that of the Basilica of San Vicente. The monarchs swore their respect for the charters of Castile in the atrium of the church, which underlines its importance during the period in which the town achieved its greatest relevance in the world of politics.
San Pedro has a Latin-cross layout with a central nave that is larger than the side naves. Its construction began in the second quarter of the 12th century and was completed in the 13th century after a period in which the work was stopped. The architecture and decoration shows an evolution of particular interest as a result of the delays in the construction work.
It has a triple upper end with an apse on each nave and a magnificent collection of sculptures showing plant, animal and geometric motifs and scenes from the Bible. The ceilings were covered with barrel and groined vaults in the 13th century. Over time, the arches became forerunners to those used in the Gothic period. Finally, a tower was built on the place where the central nave intersects with the transept.
The main front has two bodies: the upper body is dominated by a large rose window and the lower body has a porch in which the size of the entrance is magnified by six plain archivolts. The southern porch is similar but smaller in size. The northern entrance is more ornamental and moulded with five archivolts, two of which are decorated with typical Ávila-style rosettes.The interior stands out thanks to the panels distributed around the walls of the nave, the Renaissance-style altars and the altarpiece in the main chapel, together with its grilles.It was designated a National Monument in 1914.References:
Het Steen is a medieval fortress in the old city centre of Antwerp. Built after the Viking incursions in the early Middle Ages as the first stone fortress of Antwerp, Het Steen is Antwerp's oldest building and used to be its oldest urban centre.
Previously known as Antwerpen Burcht (fortress), Het Steen gained its current name in around 1520, after significant rebuilding under Charles V. The fortress made it possible to control the access to the Scheldt, the river on whose bank it stands. It was used as a prison between 1303 and 1827. The largest part of the fortress, including dozens of historic houses and the oldest church of the city, was demolished in the 19th century when the quays were straightened to stop the silting up of the Scheldt. The remaining building, heavily changed, contains a shipping museum, with some old canal barges displayed on the quay outside.
In 1890 Het Steen became the museum of archeology and in 1952 an annex was added to house the museum of Antwerp maritime history, which in 2011 moved to the nearby Museum Aan de Stroom. Here you’ll also find a war memorial to the Canadian soldiers in WWII.
There are some beautiful plaques on the back side of the Steen Castle at Antwerp. Canadian visitors will especially want to see the plaques thanking the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry for their part in the liberation of Antwerp, in 1944.
At the entrance to Het Steen is a bas-relief of Semini, above the archway, around 2nd century. Semini is the Scandinavian God of youth and fertility (with symbolic phallus). A historical plaque near Het Steen explains that women of the town appealed to Semini when they desired children; the god was reviled by later religious clergy. Inhabitants of Antwerp previously referred to themselves as 'children of Semini'.
At the entrance bridge to the castle is a statue of a giant and two humans. It depicts the giant Lange Wapper who used to terrorise the inhabitants of the city in medieval times.