Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Belgium's Tongeren Antiques Market

Above: More than 350 vendors bring their wares to Tongeren each week.

Tongeren , Belgium

Each Sunday from 6am-noon, thousands of antiques lovers peruse the offerings of more than 350 dealers arrayed beside the ancient city walls in Tongeren. Tongeren is the oldest town in the country and has more attractions than just the market. It was fortified by Julius Caesar as a Roman army camp and ongoing excavations in the 13th- century basilica still continue today. Tongeren may be only an hour's drive south from Brussels but the town is not a tourist magnet like Paris or Rome, and so the competition and the prices are reduced.

"I see carved Belgian cabinets, French Provincial armoires, myriad trunks and chests, a sturgeon writhing on a platter, a stuffed fox in one booth, a foxhunter's hat in another. Crackled Flemish paintings; a $10,000 Picasso print; insect collections; Frisian cowbells; Meissen figurines; bronze Greek gods and rusting cherubim; architectural salvage; handwrought niblicks (golf clubs); a collection of scales; and enough chandeliers, candelabra, china, crystal, and silverware to host a stadium-size dinner party. Things here tend to be well vetted, sorted, and of a high quality," said Tom Conrad, owner of Heart of Europe Tours.


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