On the first Thursday in July, the Grand Place in Brussels hosts the colourful medieval Ommegang pageant.

The festival is a recreation of celebrations marking the 'joyous entry' into Brussels of Charles the Fifth, together with his son Don Philip, infant of Spain and Duke of Brabant, and his sisters, Eleanor of Austria, Queen of France and Mary of Hungary in 1549.

The Ommegang ('going around') involves more than 1,400 performers, with dozens of horses and acrobats taking a route around the city, culminating in a spectacular display in the Grand Place.

ommegang brussels stilts
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ommegang brussels flares
Gilles of Binche surround a performer dressed as a witch as they take part in a procession during an annual medieval pageant marking the historical entry of Charles the Fifth, his son Don Philip, infant of Spain and Duke of Brabant, and his sisters, Eleanor of Austria, Queen of France and Mary of Hungary into Brussels in 1549Reuters
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gilles of Binche
A Gilles of Binche wearing a hat with ostrich feathers takes part in the annual medieval Ommegang (or procession), at Brussels' Grand PlaceReuters
ommegang brussels horse
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ommegang brussels flags
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Fireworks are launched during the annual medieval festival at Brussels' Grand PlaceReuters
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ommegang brussels standards
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ommegang brussels stilts
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