Some LX3 very-low-light impressions from a walk through the "Ruien" in Antwerp (Belgium). I used the small flash only a few times, in order to preserve the atmosphere.
The "Ruien" were a system of little brooks and rivers, connected by canals, that take their water to the river Schelde. They formed the borders of the old city and a line of defence. With the growth of the city, they functioned more and more as open sewers, taking waste to the "Vlieten" that were the original harbour docks of the city. Over time, the "Ruien" got covered with ever more bridges, construed hop-scotch next to each other to meet the inhabitants' building needs (and their desire to push the smell towards the neighbours). On these vaulted bridges of brick or hardstone, not only roads but also new houses and larger buildings were built. On average, the city is now two or three meters above its original ground level, reducing the first floors of the oldest houses to cellar level. This is where Europe's wealthiest merchants had their warehouses.
There is currently still 8 km of "Ruien" accessible for research and access to the newer sewers, of which 2 km is open for this very special walk through the vestiges of Antwerp's history. The tour starts with a small boat ride to give an impression of times past. But then we come to a landing and continue on foot, through water and muck, between rats and spiders, ancient locks and more "modern" sewage installations. The walk takes us under a succession of the bridges that are the city's foundation. Our guide tells us about the squares and churches that are directly above us and show us street drains and air chimneys that we recognize when back in open air.
This walk offers a totally different perspective on our city. It's like living archeology in our backyard, complete with smells and sounds. Fascinating!
Category:Architecture and Structures
Subcategory:Places of Interest
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© Roel Hendrickx