Little know that Halle was an important frontier town between Hainaut and Brabant during the medieval times thanks to the cult of Mary the Virgin. Edward I of England, the Dukes of Burgundy, Louis XI of France came here.
The pilgrimage to the Blessed Virgin Mary is still very alive, making this devotion at least seven centuries old.
Do not be fooled by the shopping pedestrian area you have to follow to get to the Old Square, it is worth the walk. Keep an eye on the houses because from time to time you will see a beautiful one.
Whilst the order is already mentioned in 1627, the construction of the monastery with a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows dates from 1646. In 1867, a fire ravaged the church and the monastery and the buildings have been restored, embellished and enlarged since.
The High Gothic Basilica of Saint Martin, also known as the Gothic Church of Our Lady, is a popular pilgrimage site since the 14th-15th century. It contains a celebrated miraculous image of the Holy Virgin, a Black Madonna.
The inside is really beautiful and worth a look. So do not hesitate to push its doors.
On the Old Square, you will also find the beautiful former city hall, in Renaissance style, as well as the statue of the composer Adrien-François Servais. Born and died in Halle, he was one of the most influential cellists of the nineteenth century.
Have a look around. The houses boarding the square are beautiful. There are several cafes and restaurants.
It is one of the biggest carnivals in Belgium.
The nearby forest named after the town, Hallerbos, is known for its beautiful bluebell carpet which covers the forest floor every April - Mai. At the end of this post, you will find the link to my post about Hallerbos.