Sunday, 20 May 2012

Beautiful Ancient Walled City - Maastricht

11th century Basilica of our Lady
- parts of it from before 1000 AD

Maastricht is beautiful. It was the home of Paul’s father and pretty much all of his ancestors, some traced as far back as the 1600s. It is also part of the Most Ancient European Towns Network with buildings, forts and walls surviving from the 1200s and the imposing Basilica dating from before 1000 AD.
Cafe near famous bookstore in a 13th century Dominican church
Sandstone, Gothic Sint Janskerk
We arrived on market day and there was a carnival in the Vrijthof (town square) so it was really busy. We decided to buy our own walking tour brochure and Paul was my tour guide even though most of this walk was new to him too. The last time he visited it was very cold and wet. Between 1957 and 1973 this area underwent substantial restoration work.

Cobblestoned street after cobblestoned street led us through the old part of the city and past many monuments, churches, stately buildings and fortified city walls. There were less people as we walked further into the old area.
We climbed up the narrow spiral stone staircase of the Helpoort (Hell’s Gate) building to see an exhibition on the history of the fortress city of Maastricht, staffed by a very helpful and enthusiastic man.
Although a cool day, there were many outdoor cafes and bars with tables set outside and these were well patronised.
A major difference in Maastricht – in Amsterdam people addressed us in English and handed us English menus (assuming that we were), in Maastricht we were addressed in Dutch with people assuming we were Dutch!

We loved it so much we went back for a second day to walk around – a warmer day, around 25oC.

Part of 13th century Helpoort (Hell's Gate)
I think pictures will tell the story of the city more than I can:
By an ancient mill

Part of the old city wall
Cute row of houses, in Maastricht colours

Toilet 'art' in men's toilet in a bar

One of many street cafes 


  1. Beautiful. Your posts are causing my travel bucket list to overflow.

  2. Thanks Jill, Yes, this city should be on everyone's bucket list. We are sad to leave and will come again. We have filled up memory cards with photos that I feel won't really do it justice.

  3. Nancy Bumgarner23 May 2012 at 04:45

    Wow - that city is just lovely. So pleasant!