The main city of Northern Holland, Harlem is known as the “Capital of tulips” and the birthplace of the famous painter,Frans Hals.
There are many medieval buildings preserved in this city- Gothic churches and “Hofier” – traditional houses with courtyards, which can be seen so often in paintings.
On the central square of the city that is calledGrote Markt, the remarkable town hall of the 13th century and the Gothic church of St. Bavo are located. The church is famous for its organ, built by Christian Mueller in 1738. At one time it was the largest organ in the world with about five thousand pipes. Handel, Mendelssohn and Mozart played this organ.
Near the squarethe old Harlem almshouse is located. It was built in 1608 by the outstanding Dutch architect Leaven de Kay. This building shelters one of the main attractions of the city – the museum of Frans Hals, one of the most famous Dutch artists of the XVII century.
In the museum there is an excellent collection of group portraits by Hals. They are remarkable for their ruthless precision in depicting their characters.
In addition to Hals’ paintings there are works by other painters of the 15th – 19th centuries. Butone thing unites them: they were all citizens Haarlem.
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