St. Paul's Church

Sint-Paulus Kerk
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St. Paul's Church, Antwerp
St. Paul's Church
The gothic Saint Paul's Church with baroque spire is located north of the old city center and is one of the finest Antwerp churches.
The church was built in 1571 by a Dominican order as a replacement for a previous small church, which was built in 1276. That church, which was part of a large cloister, was regularly flooded, and the new church had to become larger with a higher floor. The new church was named after the Dominican order's patron saint, Paulus.


Sint Paulus Kerk
View from across
the river
The St. Paul's Church has an eventful history. In 1679, fire destroyed much of the church and the tower was rebuilt. During the French revolution, the church's many paintings were stolen by the French, but they were returned after the revolution in 1815.

The church was damaged again during the Belgian revolution in 1830 and the last disaster struck in 1968, when a fire destroyed the roof of the church and much of the interior. Fortunately much of the interior was saved by passers-by or people living nearby.
Interior of the St. Paul's Church in Antwerp
Before the firemen had even arrived, they had taken many paintings and sculptures outside, risking their own lives. It took almost 20 years to restore the building's roof, but currently the church is back in good shape.

Interior and Calvary

Calvary, St. Paul's Church, Antwerp
Today the church, decorated in a baroque style, still houses a very rich collection of 17th century paintings of Flemish masters, arranged in a row along the northern wall. Below the paintings you'll find a large number of wooden sculptures. Several ornately decorated altars flank the main altar in front of the beautiful apse. The St. Paul's church is also home to one of the most important organs in Flanders.

At a small courtyard adjacent to the church (after entering the church, turn right), you'll see a truly impressive calvary, unique in the world. It comprises 63 statues depicting the last days of Christ.

St. Paulusstraat 20-22
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