Brussels became the capital of Belgium in the 19th century, but places in the city date back to the early Middle Ages. The rebuilding of Brussels, beginning in 1880, transformed it into a modern city.
The main attraction in Brussels is the Grand Place marketplace. The original houses, spread throughout the market, were built of wood, but they were replaced by stone houses from the 15th to 17th centuries. Construction of the town hall began in 1402, but it took more than 50 years to complete. Most of the houses were destroyed in 1695 under Louis XIV's orders. However, the guilds of Brussels promptly rebuilt the houses from 1695-1700. In 1998, UNESCO named the Grand Place a World Heritage Site.